Tooth Enamel Shows Spread Of Herding In Ancient Africa

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Tooth Enamel Shows Spread Of Herding In Ancient Africa

This means that for nearly 7 million years our ancestors survived by hunting, scavenging and fishing for sustenance. The advent of food production led to wholesale changes in the structure of human society and made the species very successful, resulting in rapid population growth, writes Kendra Chritz for Phys.org.

Development of food production in Africa

Food production differed on each continent in terms of its origin and diffusion. In the case of Africa, food production through the keeping of livestock began before crop harvesting, with the first food producers living in north Africa around 10,000-8,000 years ago before moving south.

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The herders arrived in the area now known as Kenya about 4,500 years ago, continuing their southward journey into Tanzania over the next 1,500 years. From here archaeologists are struggling to fill a hole in their knowledge, until domestic sheep and goats are known to have been present in South Africa approximately 2,000 years ago.

Archaeologists are puzzled by the gap and are trying to work out what happened in that time, but have found some new information by studying the tooth enamel of animals that passed away thousands of years ago.

Some experts believe that worsening weather and climate forced herders across Africa over the past 10,000 years, with our ancestors forced to domesticate animals because they could no longer rely on naturally occurring food resources. But one site calls this theory into question.

Tsetse fly: a natural barrier to early herders

Gogo Falls in southwest Kenya was home to a human community between 1,900 and 1,600 years ago, and the study of animal remains at the site has revealed that although they did raise livestock, they also hunted and fished for almost 50% of their resources. Archaeologists studied the number of wild animal remains versus domesticated animal remains at the site.

They now believe that the presence of the tsetse fly meant that it was difficult to keep animals at the site, given that the tsetse carries sleeping sickness, which can be fatal to animals and humans. The tsetse fly lives in wet areas with dense foliage, which describes large parts of southeast Africa, and this could also explain the gap in archaeological records as the tsetse created a natural barrier to herders.

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While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala. <i>To contact Brendan or give him an exclusive, please contact him at [email protected]</i>

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