Researchers say people started using fire to cook food 600,000 years before previously thought. Archeologists from a university in Israel claim that our early ancestors used fire to cook fish 770,000 years ago. These prehistoric humans lived alongside the banks of the Jordan River in present-day Israel. They used fire to cook "huge fish" they caught in a nearby lake. Until this new discovery, scientists believed that the first "definitive evidence" of cooking was by Neanderthals and early Homo sapiens, around 170,000 years ago. The researchers will now look for more signs of prehistoric cooking.
Lead researcher Irit Zohar spent 16 years analyzing ancient fish bones and teeth. Her analysis showed that the baked fish had been eaten 770 millennia ago. She told a news agency that: "It was like facing a puzzle…until we could make a story about human evolution." She added that her biggest problem was to ascertain whether or not the fish had been eaten raw and then their bones thrown into the fire, or whether it had been cooked first. She said: "The whole question about exposure to fire is whether it is about getting rid of remains or a desire to cook." She said the fish were two-metre-long carp.