The microscopic changes in the in the enamel of ancient fishes refers that humans may have been cooking fish in earthen ovens over 80,0000 years ago.

There are earliest evident of cooking as throwing meats and bones into fire. We’ve created a technology that distinguishes between burning and cooking at quite low temperatures. Unless you can demonstrate that the food has been cooked, you cannot quickly link the control of fire with cooking.

Where hearths formerly burned, the researchers found clusters of fish teeth but no bones. The majority of the teeth belonged to the Jordan himri (Carasobarbus canis) and Jordan barbel, two kinds of fish renowned for their high nutritional content and flavour (Luciobarbus longiceps). They thus pondered whether the fish had been prepared at low temperatures, which would have preserved the teeth while softening and making the bones more prone to disintegration.

The experimenters cooked and burned readily accessible black carp (Mylopharyngodon piceus) at various temperatures up to 900°C (1650°F), analysing the resulting crystal sizes in the tooth enamel thereafter. Additionally, they examined the crystal sizes in three fossilised Jordan barbel teeth that date from 3.15 to 4.5 million years ago and were most likely never subjected to extreme heat. Thirty fish teeth were selected from among the tens of thousands that were available at Gesher Benot Ya’aqov, and their enamel structures were compared to those of the teeth that had previously undergone testing.

They discovered that the fish teeth from the human settlement had patterns in their enamel that suggested they had been subjected to temperatures between 200°C and 500°C (390°F and 930°F) but not the fire itself. The findings show that the fish were likely cooked whole, maybe in an earthen oven, as there were almost no fish bones around and the teeth were found close to a controlled fire source.

The findings are noteworthy because they show that humans weren’t simply eating fish raw and burning the heads because tooth enamel would have indicated exposure to much higher temperatures.

Cooked fish is more nutritious, easier to digest, and safer to eat. The fact that these populations were cooking their fish demonstrates their advanced cognitive abilities, which may have been greater than many scientists previously thought. “If they already knew how to control fire, it’s only natural that they’d use it for cooking.”

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