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Dairy foods consumed in eastern Eurasia as early as 3,000 BC: Study

Berlin: Researchers have found the earliest evidence for dairy consumption in East Asia, dated to about 3,000 BC, a finding that offers insights into the arrival and evolution of dairy-based animal husbandry in prehistoric Mongolia.

The scientists, including those from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany, said although pastoralism, or dairy-based animal husbandry, has been part eastern Eurasian Steppe culture for millennia, the eastward spread of dairying from its origin in southwest Asia is little understood.

In their current study, published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution, they analysed crusty deposits that can trap stains on the teeth called dental calculus from individuals ranging from the Early Bronze Age to the time period of the Mongol Empire.

According to the study, three-quarters of all individuals unearthed contained evidence that they had consumed dairy foods, revealing the widespread importance of this food source in both prehistoric and historic Mongolia.

The study, the researchers said, provides the earliest direct evidence for dairy consumption in East Asia, identified in an individual from the Afanasievo site of Shatar Chuluu, which dates to roughly 3,000 BC.

(Image from zeebiz.com)

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