remains of the world's oldest noodles have been unearthed and then
The 50cm-long, yellow strands were found in a pot that had
probably been buried during a catastrophic flood.
Radiocarbon dating of the material taken from the Lajia
archaeological site on the Yellow River indicates the food was about
4,000 years old.
Scientists tell the journal Nature that the noodles were made
using grains from millet grass - unlike modern noodles, which are
made with wheat flour.
The discovery goes a long way to settling the old argument over
who first created the string-like food.
Scientists were very excited- but not as excited as an
extraordinarily old man who interrupted the press conference
insisting they were his noodles. He then shuffled up on stage and
proceeded to eat the noodles.
was shocked to see someone so old who claimed they were his noodles.
I would not have eaten them," the
researcher from the Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese
Academy of Sciences, Beijing, explained to BBC News.
That man was very old and obviously obsessed
with his noodles..
After eating the noodles the man exclaimed, "Ahh! Finally! My
noodles. My long lost noodley nood...les...." Then he proceeded to
die a death.
His remains were added to the remains of other
remains discovered at the noodle scene. Skeletons thrown into various abnormal
postures, suggesting the inhabitants may have been trying to flee
the disaster that was enveloping them. This man most likely escaped
that fate over 4000 years ago.
"Based on the geological and archaeological evidence, there was a
catastrophic earthquake and immediately following the quake, the
site was subject to flooding by the river," explained co-author
Professor Kam-biu Liu, from Louisiana State University, US.
"Lajia is a very
interesting site; in a way, it is the Pompeii of China."
It was in amongst the human wreckage that scientists found the
man's noodles in an
upturned earthenware bowl filled with brownish-yellow, fine clay.
When they lifted the inverted container, the noodles were found
sitting proud on the cone of sediment left behind.
The man ate them hours later. Scientists are not sure whether
it was the old age or the old noodles that killed the old man.
"It was this unique combination of factors that created a vacuum
or empty space between the top of the sediment cone and the bottom
of this bowl that allowed the noodles to be preserved. We are not
sure what preserved the 4000 year old man," Professor Kam-biu Liu said.
The noodles resemble the La-Mian noodle, the team says; a
traditional Chinese noodle that is made by repeatedly pulling and
stretching the dough by hand. Descendants of the 4000 year old man
said he also liked curly pasta and bowties.
the plants from which the noodles were made, the team looked at the
shape and patterning of starch grains and so-called seed-husk
phytoliths in the bowl.
These were compared with modern crops. The analysis pointed to
the use of foxtail millet (Setaria italica) and broomcorn
millet (Panicum miliaceum)
"Our data demonstrate that noodles were probably initially made
from species of domesticated grasses native to China. To be honest
I'm not sure how that guy was so sure they were his noodles. They
could have been anyone's noodles," Professor Houyuan Lu said.