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Ancient North Africans got milk: Herders began dairying around 7,000 years ago
Science News ^ | Wednesday, June 20th, 2012 | Bruce Bower

Posted on 06/22/2012 3:53:25 PM PDT by SunkenCiv

Animal herders living in what was a grassy part of North Africa's Sahara Desert around 7,000 years ago had a taste for cattle milk, or perhaps milk products such as butter. Researchers have identified a chemical signature of dairy fats on the inside surfaces of pottery from that time.

Dairy products played a big part in the diets of these ancient Africans, even though they did not live in farming villages as the earliest European milk users did, reports a team led by biogeochemists Julie Dunne and Richard Evershed, both of the University of Bristol in England.

Dairying may have spread from the Middle East and nearby areas -- where farming emerged around 10,000 years ago -- to Africa and Europe within a couple thousand years, the scientists propose in the June 21 Nature.

Chemical evidence shows that cattle milked in the ancient Sahara ate plants from both cool, wet areas and hot, dry expanses. "Animals were being moved around the landscape between different ecosystems containing different plants, possibly as a result of seasonal variations in available pastures," Evershed says.

Researchers generally assume that North Africans domesticated cattle, sheep and goats before growing crops. Previously excavated bones of domesticated animals date to roughly 8,000 years ago in North Africa. Rock paintings in the region depict cattle herding and a few instances of milking, but no reliable dates exist for these artworks.

An early date for dairying in North Africa "implies that one of the reasons local African peoples adopted cattle was for their milk products," says anthropologist Diane Gifford-Gonzalez of the University of California, Santa Cruz.

(Excerpt) Read more at sciencenews.org ...


TOPICS: History; Science; Travel
KEYWORDS: africa; godsgravesglyphs; lactosetolerance; milk
A rock art depiction of domesticated cattle thought to date to between 8,000 and 5,000 years ago comes from a part of the Sahara Desert where chemical evidence now shows that people milked cattle 7,000 years ago. Roberto Ceccacci, © The Archaeological Mission in the Sahara/Sapienza Univ. of Rome

Ancient North Africans got milk: Herders began dairying around 7,000 years ago

1 posted on 06/22/2012 3:53:32 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
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To: StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; decimon; 1010RD; 21twelve; 24Karet; 2ndDivisionVet; ...

 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.


2 posted on 06/22/2012 3:56:01 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: SunkenCiv

Doesn’t he mean they gotted milk?


3 posted on 06/22/2012 4:04:40 PM PDT by webheart (King of the Run-On Sentence)
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To: webheart

The real question is, did they have tose, or did they lack tose?


4 posted on 06/22/2012 4:23:13 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: SunkenCiv

Butter was a major discovery. Enough of it makes anything edible, even Brussels sprouts.


5 posted on 06/22/2012 4:42:25 PM PDT by Reeses
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To: SunkenCiv

“implies that one of the reasons local African peoples adopted cattle was for their milk products,”

But, but years ago I heard a black woman say that dairys were racist because many blacks cannot digest milk!


6 posted on 06/22/2012 4:55:51 PM PDT by Ruy Dias de Bivar (I LIKE ART! Click my name. See my web page.)
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To: SunkenCiv

“Ancient North Africans got milk: Herders began dairying around 7,000 years ago.....”

Well........yeah! Since Creation took place approximately 6K to 10K years ago, that figure would be inside the ballpark....right near second base, as I see it.


7 posted on 06/22/2012 4:56:20 PM PDT by Tucker39 ( Psa 68:19Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits; even the God of our salvation.KJV)
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To: Reeses
Butter was a major discovery. Enough of it makes anything edible, even Brussels sprouts.

I seriously doubt that.

8 posted on 06/22/2012 5:43:15 PM PDT by exDemMom (Now that I've finally accepted that I'm living a bad hair life, I'm more at peace with the world.)
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To: SunkenCiv
...But many contained chemical signatures that were unambiguously from animal fats, the researchers report today in the journal Nature. Analyses revealed the remains of dairy products made from cow, goat and sheep’s milk, dating back to between 7,200 and 5,800 years ago.

Yet another instance of bad science (or bad reporting)...it could be that the herders weren't African (i.e., not Negroid)...remember the post I made the other day that contained the tidbit about the genetic haplotype that emerged in Europe and then migrated back to Africa?

9 posted on 06/22/2012 6:01:11 PM PDT by Renfield (Turning apples into venison since 1999!)
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To: SunkenCiv

To prehistoric dairymen/maids: Thank you, from the bottom of my ice-cream lovin’ heart.


10 posted on 06/22/2012 7:04:46 PM PDT by married21 (As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.)
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To: SunkenCiv; All

They may not have needed the lactose enzyme to digest milk. Given the high temperatures of north Africs, it is entirely possible that milk stored in pots or leather or bladder pouches would have converted rather rapidly into a yogurt type food. This occurs above around 90 degrees F. I know, I have made yogurt. Lower temperatures will give you sour milk and then conversion possible to cheese.

I had a co-worker from Jamaica who was complaining of itchy irritated eyes. I thought it might be Vitamin A or riboflavin deficiency. When she told me she was lactose intolerant and did not use milk, I decided it was riboflavin. I told her to eat 2 servings of yogurt a day, and within a month her eyes were fine. Souring of milk uses up the lactose.

Another thing some of those people did/do is prick a neck vein of their cattle, extract blood and mix it with milk for a rich, high protein food. They were careful not to take too much blood.


11 posted on 06/23/2012 2:43:23 AM PDT by gleeaikin
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To: Renfield

I’d herd that too. ;’)


12 posted on 06/23/2012 3:15:01 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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