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January 2020 (Vol. 11 Issue 4)

The 'original' Paleo diet was all about fish
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

The 'original' Paleo diet was all about fish image

Think Paleo, and you probably think of a meat-based diet. . .but the real Stone Age people actually ate a lot of fish, new research has discovered.

People living in southern Scandinavia around 10,000 years ago got most of their protein from fish, with less than 40 per cent coming from land mammals such as deer or wild boar. Interestingly, less than 3 per cent of the diet was derived from plants, mushrooms, berries and nuts.

Researchers from Lund University in Sweden were able to piece together what the real Paleo diet looked like by analysing the skeletons of 80 people who lived between 10,000 and 7,500 years ago in Scandinavia.

Fish was an even more important part of the diet for people living on the island of Gotland, for whom it made up around 60 per cent of the total diet. People living on the Swedish west coast were also big fish-eaters.

The diet suggests people were settling into communities far earlier than anthropologists had reckoned. Fishing is a static activity whereas hunting for land mammals suggests a more nomadic existence.

The type of fish eaten varied between the locations of different communities, from lakeside dwellers, who ate carp, perch, pike and burbot, and those who lived by the sea, who mainly ate cod.


(Source: Journal of Archaeological Science, 2018; doi: 10.1016/j.jas.2018.02.018)

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