Fact and Fiction

Thoughts about a funny old world, and what is real, and what is not. Comments are welcome, but please keep them on topic.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Flying spaghetti monster relics discovered

The deity known as the Flying Spaghetti Monster has consolidated his hold over the minds of his worshippers by guiding a few of his disciples (the "chosen ones") to discover some of his ancient relics.

This week New Scientist reports that:

Ancient noodle rewrites history

Who invented the noodle is a hotly contested topic - with the Chinese, Italians and Arabs all staking a claim.

But the discovery of a pot of thin yellow noodles preserved for 4000 years in Yellow river silt may have tipped the bowl in China's favour. It suggests that people were eating noodles at least 1000 years earlier than previously thought, and many centuries before such dishes were documented in Europe.

"These are undoubtedly the oldest noodles ever found," says Houyuan Lu at China's Institute of Geology and Geophysics in Beijing. His team found the noodles buried 3 metres deep in flood-plain sediment at Lajia in northeastern China after lifting out an upturned bowl. The "spaghetti-like" noodles, up to 50 centimetres long, sat atop a mound of silt which had sealed them in the bowl following a major earthquake and flood.

Lu's team report in Nature (vol 437, p 967) that the noodles came from two species of millet grass grown in north-eastern China at that time. They identified the species by examining starch grains in the noodles and phytoliths, silica particles formed in seed husks while plants are alive but which survive as fossils.

They believe the noodles were made by pulling dough into long strands before boiling.

Naturally, being religious relics, I don't expect this noodly experimental result to be reproducible.


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