Put on some Christmas weight?
Well if you think your diet’s tough, spare a thought for the people of Europe 3,000 years ago, who survived on dogs, cats, foxes and badgers, a study has revealed.
Archaeologists in El Mirador Cave in Atapuerca, Spain, found human teeth marks on fossils dating back to between 3,100 and 7,200 years ago, which had signs of cut marks, bone breaks and culinary processing.
And according to the researchers, the evidence shows that ‘dogs, wild cats, and badgers’ were ‘disarticulated, defleshed and boiled’.
‘Carnivore consumption has been identified in the Holocene levels of El Mirador Cave,’ said Dr Patricia Martin of the Catalan Institute of Human Paleoecology and Social Evolution.
‘Remains of domestic dogs, wild cats, badgers, and foxes, recovered from Neolithic to Bronze Age levels present evidence of human consumption.’
According to the study, hunting wild carnivores would have been difficult, so some of the species were likely captured accidentally and then consumed.
While the consumption of small wild carnivores is more a case of opportunism, dog consumption occurs ‘repeatedly in time’, says Dr Martin – suggesting our ancestors actively hunted dog to eat.
‘In some Asian cultures dog meat is considered a rich source of protein or as a delicatessen meat,’ she said.