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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

12,000-year old barbecue joint found in Cyprus

Archaeologists working on the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea are saying that a cave discovered there in 1961 may have been a take-out barbecue diner used around twelve thousand years ago. Except that instead of beef or pork, those ancient Cypriots were feasting on small hippopotamuses... and the human's appetite may have helped drive the species into extinction.
Thousands of prehistoric hippo bones found in Cyprus are adding to a growing debate on the possible role of humans in the extinction of larger animals 12,000 years ago.

First discovered by an 11-year-old boy in 1961, a tiny rock-shelter crammed with hippo remains radically rewrote archaeological accounts of when this east Mediterranean island was first visited by humans.

It has fired speculation of being the first takeaway diner used by humans to cook and possibly dispatch meat. It also adds to growing speculation, controversial in some quarters, that humans could have eaten some animals to extinction.

In Cyprus, where islanders' love of the barbecue is alive and well to this day, it would have been the pygmy hippo, or "Phanourios minutus," an endemic species resembling a large pig which apparently vanished around the same time people appeared on the island...

I wonder what kind of sauce they used on those hippo ribs.


shanethacker said...

Wasn't tomato-based, since those weren't in the Mediterranean yet, so we'll have to assume vinegar or mustard. Perhaps we should cook up a hippo and see what works best?

Chris Knight said...

"Vinegar-based"? That would make it like Short Sugar's BBQ sauce! :-P