A fishy first supper

A fishy first supper

Israel has long been famous as the site of the Last Supper.

Now, scientists affiliated with a half dozen universities in Israel and beyond have uncovered what they claim is the first supper — or at least the earliest evidence until now of humans cooking with fire.

The multi-university team of experts from several Israeli and foreign universities came to this conclusion by counting fish bones at Gesher Benot Ya’aqov, near the Jordan River in the Hula Valley, north of the Sea of Galilee.

Twenty years ago, scientists at the site reported finding evidence of controlled fire. In a report published last week in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution, scientists answered the ancient question: What was cooking?

The team analyzed fish teeth found at the site — and the lack of fish skeletons accompanying the teeth. They concluded that the fish had been cooked at temperatures high enough to melt the skeletons but not enough to burn the teeth — temperatures quite conducive for roasting fish.

The scientists date the ancient dinners to roughly 780,000 years ago. That’s more than five times more ancient than previous evidence of human cooking.

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