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Despite a seaside home overlooking the Mediterranean, the very first human settlers of Sicily weren't seafood lovers, new research finds.
In an analysis published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE, skeletal remains of the people who occupied the site around 10,000 years ago show no telltale signs of seafood eating. Instead, researchers say, these hunter-gatherers chowed down on game such as deer and boar.
"It showed us that our species only reached Sicily probably around, at the earliest, about 24,000 years ago, which is the time of the last glacial maximum, a time when probably for a very short period, Sicily was actually connected to the mainland through a land bridge exposed by the fact that sea levels were lower," Mannino said.
The DNA further suggested these early Homo sapien settlers likely had ancestry in the Near East and Caucasus regions, the researchers wrote.
A terrestrial diet The isotope analysis revealed these Sicilian settlers ate mostly terrestrial meals, with less than 10 or 20 percent of their diets made up of seafood.
Other research on early Mediterranean humans suggests this diet was typical for the region, Mannino said. Humans living along the Atlantic coast of Europe during the same time period, on the other hand, often had diets made up of 80 to 90 percent seafood, he said.