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56 of 110 pottery fragments unearthed from two southwestern Libyan archaeological sites occupied between 8400 and 10,200 years ago, contained a high proportion of palmitic acid to stearic acid. This indicates that these northern Africans were cooking plants in their pots just after the end of the last ice age.

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Sapienza University of Rome

The findings were published in Nature Plants.  The residue on some of the other pots suggested they were used to cook either animal products or a mix of animals and plants. Archaeologists had previously found the remains of a variety of plants at these sites—as well as stones used to grind plants and seeds into flour, and even rock art depicting a person picking plants—but the new findings are the first to definitively show that the sites’ occupants actually cooked them, yielding the oldest evidence of people cooking plants!