How The First Humans Ate Eggs Millions Of Years Ago

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? The world may never know, but what we do know is that humans have been consuming the latter product for about 6 million years. Our earliest ancestors were probably eating eggs long before they ever tried chicken or any other type of bird meat, as scientists who study ancient teeth have determined that humans didn't adopt their carnivorous ways until a mere 2.6 million years ago.

The first eggs were eaten raw, since no one had the slightest fear of contracting salmonella. For one thing, this type of bacteria wasn't discovered until the late 19th century, and for another, early hominids seldom lived past 30 no matter how healthy their paleo diets may have been. It's also unlikely that early hominids were sucking down chicken eggs since chickens weren't domesticated until about 9000 years ago. Instead, they probably just snagged the eggs of any birds who were foolish enough to build their nests in a place that wasn't too hard for two-legged, non-winged creatures to reach.

Cooked eggs were a later development

Once humans discovered how to make fires, could cooked food be far behind? Well, maybe, since the archaeological records are a bit fuzzy about anything occurring so long ago. There is evidence, however, that humans may have started making use of fire for their own purposes about 1.5 million years ago and cooking, too, could have started within this time frame. Once cooking fires were a thing, people eventually figured out how to use hot coals to make roasted eggs, so this seems to have been the first method for cooking them.

In order to make hard-boiled eggs, these proto-chefs required some type of vessel, which means they had to wait until pottery itself was invented circa 5000 B.C. E. Hard-boiled eggs were quite popular with the ancient Romans, and both Romans and Egyptians also pioneered the use of eggs as baking ingredients. The Romans, too, may have been among the some of the first people to scramble eggs, as they came up with the first-ever omelet recipe. This dish, however, is a relative newcomer as it's a mere 1600 years old.