If we could trademark the phrase “much earlier than thought,” we could fund our UD server without asking for donations. Here we learn key info like how people learned expressions like “just a pinch next time … please?”:
Lead researcher Dr Hayley Saul, of the BioArCH research centre at at the University of York, said: “The traditional view is that early Neolithic and pre-Neolithic uses of plants, and the reasons for their cultivation, were primarily driven by energy requirements rather than flavour. As garlic mustard has a strong flavour but little nutritional value, and the phytoliths are found in pots with terrestrial and marine animal residues, our findings are the first direct evidence for the spicing of food in European prehistoric cuisine.
“Our evidence suggests a much greater antiquity to the spicing of foods in this region than is evident from the macrofossil record, and challenges the view that plants were exploited by hunter-gatherers and early agriculturalists solely for energy requirements, rather than taste.”
Earlier view: Professor Bumblejones had long been of the opinion that when Caveman Grok smeared honey mustard on his food, he had no awareness of its taste but only wanted to deter other predators. So when Bumblejones discovered a whole clay pot of the stuff at the far end of the cave, all dried out, underneath a pile of leather straps apparently used to hang hams, he was confident of yet another publication in Nature on the major theme of his life work: “Early human strategies to deter non-human predators.” “Most carnivores,” he would explain, “avoid mustard. So natural selection caused Grok and his fellows to … ” 😉