The discovery is the earliest evidence in Africa of human meat consumption, with the fossilized carcass bearing human bite marks.
Essaouira – Scientists have uncovered the fossilized remains of a 7,000-year-old meal in a cave near Casablanca. The cave, called the Rhinoceros Grotto, was a living space for early humans and is now home to the earliest recorded evidence in Africa of in-situ meat processing.
Nature magazine explains that scientific analysis showed traces of butchery and human teeth marks on the fossilized bones of herbivorous animals including gazelle, zebra, and alcelaphine (like wildebeest), providing evidence of human meat consumption and processing.
The report shows that humans used sharp knives to remove flesh from the leg bones of the plant-eating animals.
A cooperative of French and Moroccan archeologists discovered the Rhinoceros Grotto in 1991 at the Oulad Hamida 1 quarry, just 1 kilometer from the Atlantic coast.
The site underwent excavation projects in 1996 and between 2005 and 2009. The excavations revealed “a rich, diverse fauna in a well-established stratigraphic context,” Nature magazine reported on March 17.
Scientists classed the cave as the first Moroccan Acheulean site. The scientists used bovid and rhinocerotid teeth to date the site, with the results showing the cave had been in use for over 7,000 years.
The discovery is not the first of its kind in Morocco. The North African country has been the site of several significant archeological finds, including the discovery of flesh-eating dinosaur tracks in 2019.
An article published in the October 2019 issue of the Journal of African Earth Sciences explained the dinosaur track study.
Researchers found identical footprints of theropods, flesh-eating dinosaurs, from the Late Jurassic period (between 163 and 145 million years ago) in Morocco, Spain, Portugal, and Switzerland.
The evidence showed that the theropods were migratory animals, travelling between the super-continents of Gondwana and Laurasia, specifically between today’s North Africa and Europe.
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