Ancient History

15000

BCE

Systematic harvesting and processing of edible wild plants, including acorns and pine nuts.

Analysis of oral pathology reveals an exceptionally high prevalence of caries (51.2% of teeth in adult dentitions), comparable to modern industrialized populations with a diet high in refined sugars and processed cereals.

Earliest evidence for caries and exploitation of starchy plant foods in Pleistocene hunter-gatherers from Morocco

We present early evidence linking a high prevalence of caries to a reliance on highly cariogenic wild plant foods in Pleistocene hunter-gatherers from North Africa.

This evidence predates other high caries populations and the first signs of food production by several thousand years.

We infer that increased reliance on wild plants rich in fermentable carbohydrates caused an early shift toward a disease-associated oral microbiota.

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The high prevalence of dental caries in recent humans is attributed to more frequent consumption of plant foods rich in fermentable carbohydrates in food-producing societies.

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Here we present evidence linking a high prevalence of caries to reliance on highly cariogenic wild plant foods in Pleistocene hunter-gatherers from North Africa, predating other high caries populations and the first signs of food production by several thousand years.

...

Macrobotanical remains from occupational deposits dated between 15,000 and 13,700 cal B.P. provide evidence for systematic harvesting and processing of edible wild plants, including acorns and pine nuts.

Analysis of oral pathology reveals an exceptionally high prevalence of caries (51.2% of teeth in adult dentitions), comparable to modern industrialized populations with a diet high in refined sugars and processed cereals.

Morocco

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