The long-taught evolutionary adage that early humans were near total carnivores has been dramatically overturned.

The Nature News headline announced, “Stone Age flour found across Europe”.  And New Scientist advised readers to “Forget the idea that hunter-gatherers lived on low-carb meat diets” as “Palaeolithic mammoth burgers were eaten with a bun.”

This re-thinking of the ‘primitive’ meat-eater stereotype has been necessitated by new evidence published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Researchers carefully analyzed sandstone tools from a range of archaeological sites across Europe. They found patterns of wear on the stone tools that suggested they were used for grinding, like a mortar and pestle. But crucially, the researchers discovered that the stones were also coated with traces of plant material—specifically, several kinds of microscopic starch grains….

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