Japanese hunter-gatherers living during the end of the ice age may have turned to pottery as a source of cooking, researchers report in the journal Nature. The study details an analysis of charred material from various ceramic vessels and fragments that revealed some of the earliest evidence of cooking using pottery. Scientists also say they found traces of fatty acids belonging to creatures such as fish and other marine animals. The resulting substance would have only resulted after prolonged exposure to heat -- suggesting long periods of cooking time.

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