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Humans Took 1000 Years To Tame Wild Plants
ABC.Net ^ | 4-13-2004 | Anna Salleh

Posted on 04/13/2004 4:39:44 PM PDT by blam

Humans took 1000 years to tame wild plants

Anna Salleh
ABC Science Online
Tuesday, 13 April 2004

The Dead Sea Plain dig in Jordan. The base of a curved stone wall can be seen in front of the researcher (Image: P Edwards)

Remnants of ancient barley, wheat, figs and pistachios nearly 10,000 years old are helping to solve the mystery about how and when nomadic hunter-gatherers became sedentary farmers.

A team led by Australian archaeologist Dr Phillip Edwards of Melbourne's La Trobe University said its findings in the Middle East suggested humans went through a 1000-year phase of cultivating wild plants before they began breeding plants in earnest.

Edwards told ABC Science Online the research had been accepted for publication in the French journal Paléorient.

The team has been investigating remnants at a site near the Dead Sea in Jordan that represents what archaeologists call the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) period, when humans began to establish settlements.

Scientists have dated the site to about 9600 to 9300 years old. Archaeologists refer to that as 9600 to 9300 years before present (BP), where 'present' is defined as 1950 AD.

Until relatively recently, the PPNA was also generally accepted as the time when humans began to domesticate plants.

But Edwards said the major flaw in this argument was that any archaeological evidence of plants from PPNA sites were not conclusive evidence of domesticated varieties.

"That left us with a puzzle," said Edwards. "Villages really intensified and grew in this period, and if it wasn't due to a new food base then everybody was left with the question of what caused it."

Archaeobotany to the rescue

The La Trobe team's archaeobotanist, PhD student John Meadows, studied ancient barley seeds from the Dead Sea site.

While they were larger than wild types, they were not as large as fully domesticated types found in the next archaeological period, the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB).

This was one piece of evidence, argued Edwards, that suggested there was a period before domestication called "pre-domestication cultivation".

"What we think now is that they were cultivating plants that were still morphologically wild, which is why we call it pre-domestication cultivation," Edwards said.

"They were still hunters, still collected plants but what we now think is that they had added part-time cultivation of wheat, barley and some legumes."

Other features of the site support this interpretation, said Edwards.

"It was a kind of natural laboratory that crystallised the issue."

He said the fact that the site was very flat and had an ancient spring suggested the grains of barley and wheat found there were grown there. Mortar and pestles and other grinding equipment were also found there.

Edwards said other research from a PPNA site in Syria had found weeds associated with cultivation.

Part-time hunter-gatherers

Together with this evidence of a sedentary life, other evidence suggested the people at the Dead Sea site were also part hunter-gatherers.

Numerous figs and pistachios remnants found there were unlikely to have grown there because the site would have been very dry and saline at the time, said Edwards. Instead, he said, they would have been gathered from the hills in season.

The La Trobe team's research has also added to archaeologists' understanding of when exactly the PPNA ended.

The period is generally regarded as starting at 10,300 BP and ending at 9600 BP. But Edward's team suggested an ending of about 9300 to 9200 BP.

Research from a site in Israel presented at a recent conference in France suggested the next period, the PPNB, began at 9400 to 9300 BP.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 1000; agriculture; animalhusbandry; archaeobotany; crevolist; godsgravesglyphs; helixmakemineadouble; humans; plants; purplenutsedge; tame; took; wild; years
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1 posted on 04/13/2004 4:39:45 PM PDT by blam
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To: farmfriend
Ping.
2 posted on 04/13/2004 4:40:17 PM PDT by blam
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To: PatrickHenry
Pre-pottery Neolithic Ping!
3 posted on 04/13/2004 4:45:56 PM PDT by VadeRetro
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To: blam
I understand that Kennedy and the other crap weasels are planning, if it will make Bush look bad, to demand a hearing on why this took so long.
4 posted on 04/13/2004 4:50:15 PM PDT by Tacis
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To: blam
Histories of farming and gardening are interesting in their recording of many cases of crop failure and many cases of crop success.

The weather and plundering had much effect on the success of agriculture.
5 posted on 04/13/2004 4:59:27 PM PDT by jolie560
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To: blam
I love these posts of yours. Thanks.
6 posted on 04/13/2004 5:02:56 PM PDT by ShadowDancer
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To: blam
BUMP for interesting reading later, but I have to go find out which TV station is carrying our President's speech right now. Blam, this article sounds fascinating.
7 posted on 04/13/2004 5:05:01 PM PDT by kitkat
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To: blam
Coincidentally I just got a copy of "The Origin of Fruits and Vegetables" today from Amazon.com.
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0789306565/qid=1081900730/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/103-2816519-9044641?v=glance&s=books

Just started reading it, but one of the things I've learned so far is that the earliest cultivated fruits and vegetables, not surprisingly, are ones that are very easy to cultivate by transplanting cuttings of stems or roots, like figs, grapes, pomegranates, olives, and dates.

Of course, climate matters, too. Olives are not cold-tolerant, but hate tropical climates even worse than a little cold, so that where they grow essentially defines the Mediterranean climate.

If you are interested in the history of horticulture (I am a sucker for this stuff) you might like this book.
8 posted on 04/13/2004 5:08:16 PM PDT by CobaltBlue
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To: Tacis
***I understand that Kennedy and the other crap weasels are planning, if it will make Bush look bad, to demand a hearing on why this took so long.***

Yup! Same thing with Noah's ark. First they said Noah couldn't build it without multi-lateral approval. Then when he did it anyway, they blamed him for not building it sooner and saving all the people.
9 posted on 04/13/2004 5:10:43 PM PDT by kitkat
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To: blam
I've always wondered who it was who first figured out how to prepare an artichoke. I mean, they are such nasty plants when raw that it's amazing that someone thought to cook them. Maybe they were very, very hungry. LOL!
10 posted on 04/13/2004 5:12:54 PM PDT by EggsAckley (......."Can't ya see what's happening...?" James Stewart, "It's a Wonderful Life"........)
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To: blam; *Gods, Graves, Glyphs; A.J.Armitage; abner; adam_az; AdmSmith; Alas Babylon!; ...
Gods, Graves, Glyphs
List for articles regarding early civilizations , life of all forms, - dinosaurs - etc.
Let me know if you wish to be added or removed from this ping list.
11 posted on 04/13/2004 5:15:41 PM PDT by farmfriend ( Isaiah 55:10,11)
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To: blam
I'm amazed that agriculture ever existed at the Dead Sea.

The "Land of Milk and Honey" is the biggest spin job of all time.

12 posted on 04/13/2004 5:18:40 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: blam
Humans took 1000 years to tame wild plants

Damned weeds...

13 posted on 04/13/2004 5:25:05 PM PDT by bannie (The government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend upon the support of Paul.)
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To: blam
Fun stuff.

I took a course in "Plagues and People" several years ago...same kind of fun.
14 posted on 04/13/2004 5:27:06 PM PDT by bannie (The government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend upon the support of Paul.)
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To: blam
"Scientists have dated the site to about 9600 to 9300 years old. Archaeologists refer to that as 9600 to 9300 years before present (BP), where 'present' is defined as 1950 AD. "

I've noticed a real trend away from dating history by using the terms B.C or A.D. Often the term BCE (before the common era) is used, which is really ridiculous, since it is the same as B.C. except it does not name the birth of Christ directly. Sort of like renaming Christmas break the "Winter Holiday".

Now this BP is not only embarrassingly PC but more confusing to boot. Calling 1950 the "present" means in order to figure out how old a given date is, you have to add the number of years since 1950, then add that to the date. Since we are still dating on years based on the convention of the birth of Jesus, what's the point?
15 posted on 04/13/2004 5:31:29 PM PDT by SoCal Pubbie
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To: VadeRetro; jennyp; Junior; longshadow; RadioAstronomer; Physicist; LogicWings; Doctor Stochastic; ..
PING. [This list is for the evolution side of evolution threads, and some other science topics like cosmology. Long-time list members get all pings, but can request evo-only status. New additions will be evo-only, but can request all pings. FReepmail me to be added or dropped. Specify all pings or you'll get evo-pings only.]
16 posted on 04/13/2004 5:36:55 PM PDT by PatrickHenry (Why yes, that IS a gun in my pocket.)
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To: SoCal Pubbie
I've noticed a real trend away from dating history by using the terms B.C or A.D. Often the term BCE (before the common era) is used, which is really ridiculous, since it is the same as B.C. except it does not name the birth of Christ directly. Sort of like renaming Christmas break the "Winter Holiday".

In this field, the practice is much older than recent political correctness. Jewish scholars were the first to use "BCE" and "CE" --probably as long ago as the 19th century--in order to use the same dates as everyone else without explicitly acknowledging Christianity. Moslems picked this up from Jews. Historians and archaeologists who study the Middle East then picked it up, in order to avoid offending the Jews and Moslems they have to deal with in order to get permission for their digs. So in Middle eastern history, you will find that BCE/CE dates have been common for over 50 years.

17 posted on 04/13/2004 5:49:42 PM PDT by Lurking Libertarian (Non sub homine, sed sub Deo et lege)
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To: EggsAckley
"I've always wondered who it was who first figured out how to prepare an artichoke."

I would start your search for that person around Castroville.

18 posted on 04/13/2004 5:58:19 PM PDT by blam
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To: EggsAckley
I wonder, whenever I boil them, who figured out how to eat artichokes in the first place. My best guess is that it was an accident----somone threw the thing into a boiling pot while no one else was looking.
19 posted on 04/13/2004 6:21:51 PM PDT by jolie560
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To: jolie560; EggsAckley
Artichokes? That's nothing. Please look into the delicacies enjoyed in Asia, such a a rotting egg/cabage/etc. UNBELIEVABLE what people can eat.
20 posted on 04/13/2004 6:42:33 PM PDT by Shryke
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To: jolie560
I would like to know the first human who cracked open an egg and said, "Hey, that looks delicious."
21 posted on 04/13/2004 7:08:35 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: jolie560
I've never tried a baby artichoke raw, but so far this year have had three different restaurants serve wood roasted baby artichokes, and they are delicious, stem and all! I had one marinated and two without, and I liked the unmarinated ones better.
22 posted on 04/13/2004 7:32:07 PM PDT by CobaltBlue
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To: Dog Gone
If you see an animal, like a dog, eating eggs, that gives you a good idea you can eat them, too.

Besides, if you're hungry, my bet is that you'd eat anything that did not eat you first, and some that tried!
23 posted on 04/13/2004 7:33:30 PM PDT by CobaltBlue
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To: CobaltBlue
My dog will eat cat shit. It doesn't give me any ideas.
24 posted on 04/13/2004 7:35:17 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Dog Gone
Ohhhhhkaaaaayyyyy, sorry I mentioned it!
25 posted on 04/13/2004 7:36:15 PM PDT by CobaltBlue (Never mind!)
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To: CobaltBlue
LOL
26 posted on 04/13/2004 7:37:00 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: PatrickHenry
(Why yes, that IS a gun in my pocket.)

Really? Well, nice to meet you.

27 posted on 04/13/2004 7:37:13 PM PDT by Victoria Delsoul (Kerry said he wasn't at the '71 plot-to-kill meeting, then, he was but voted NO, now he can't recall)
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To: Victoria Delsoul
That's very funny.

(She gets it, she gets it!)

28 posted on 04/13/2004 7:43:08 PM PDT by PatrickHenry (Why yes, that IS a gun in my pocket.)
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To: PatrickHenry
LOL!
29 posted on 04/13/2004 7:48:33 PM PDT by Victoria Delsoul (Kerry said he wasn't at the '71 plot-to-kill meeting, then, he was but voted NO, now he can't recall)
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To: Dog Gone
I would like to know the first human who cracked open an egg and said, "Hey, that looks delicious."

I'd guess it wasn't a human; chimps eat eggs. Chimp diet

30 posted on 04/13/2004 7:51:45 PM PDT by Virginia-American
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To: Dog Gone
There's a theory that at end of the ice age there was a drought that caused agriculture to be started by sheer necessity. After that it's been proven there was a lot of rainfall in the area and a subtropical climate. (Think Maui, only a little drier)
31 posted on 04/13/2004 8:09:53 PM PDT by lizma
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To: CobaltBlue
Ancient people made bread out of acorns. Of couse, acorn flour must be leached with boiling water to remove they cyanide compounds first. Someone may have been unsuccessful in the past.

“He was a bold man that first ate an oyster.”--Jonathan Swift

Fugu fish?
32 posted on 04/13/2004 8:28:21 PM PDT by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch is der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: lizma
I'm no climatologist, or even more than an armchair archaeologist, but that goes against everything I've ever learned. The papyrus fragments we have from Israel and Egypt needed a desert environment to survive thousands of years.

My guess is that Israel looked liked the land of Milk and Honey only in comparison to where the Israelites really came from, Mesopotamia.

That's my hunch, and I'll be glad to explain why tomorrow, since this is my last post for tonight.

33 posted on 04/13/2004 8:33:57 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: lizma
There's a theory that at end of the ice age there was a drought that caused agriculture to be started by sheer necessity.

I've heard a similar theory: the end of the ice age resulted in an increase in the human population in the middle-east. Though these hunter-gatherers knew about plants and may have cultivated them as a sideline, the hunter-gatherer life was fairly easy (you needed to hunt/gather about 4 hours a day to feed your family), so they had no reason to become farmers. However, a long drought came along and there were too many humans around to be supported by hunting and gathering, so humans were gradually forced to turn to farming to survive.

Early farming was NOT an improvement in the quality of life for those involved- farming at that point took a lot more work and led to a less-varied diet, but humans were forced to farm out of necessity.

34 posted on 04/13/2004 8:42:59 PM PDT by Modernman (Work is the curse of the drinking classes. -Oscar Wilde)
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To: blam
Bump - for being quintessentially late, even way back then
35 posted on 04/13/2004 8:47:26 PM PDT by txhurl (The Jihadists: spectacular media violence, zero military significance, huge psych significance.)
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To: Dog Gone
"My dog will eat cat shit. It doesn't give me any ideas."

I've read that it means your dog doesn't have enough protein in his diet.

36 posted on 04/13/2004 9:02:20 PM PDT by blam
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To: Modernman
Early farming was NOT an improvement in the quality of life for those involved- farming at that point took a lot more work and led to a less-varied diet, but humans were forced to farm out of necessity.


kAcknor Sez:

Forced because of a drought? After tens of thousands of years of simply moving on to another location when conditions changed all of a sudden we thought to grow food?

Ha! More than likely somebody was good a brewing the local ale and beer and found that when he spilled a little of the grain it grew where he had been working the season before. The next logical step would be to place it somewhere specific and THEN if there were a drought add a little water leading to irrigation.

Food was a by-product of getting sloshed. ;)

Political Commentary @ Phillabuster.org, Home of Newslinks! "bISovbejbe'DI' tImer" (When in doubt, surprise them.)

Have you checked the *bang_list today?
Get your daily dose of Newslinks!

37 posted on 04/13/2004 9:04:06 PM PDT by kAcknor (That's my version of it anyway....)
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To: blam
You know, I'm a pretty serious nutritionist (albeit a 90o nutritionist), and I can pretty much prove that if you will give your dog one pound of 70/30 hamburger plus two raw eggs per day, you will produce a healthy, strong animal, compared to the IAMS diet stuff. At about 1/2 the price.

Many folks think dog 'food' is an improvement, ignoring canine dietary evolution.

38 posted on 04/13/2004 9:11:53 PM PDT by txhurl (The Jihadists: spectacular media violence, zero military significance, huge psych significance.)
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To: blam
YEC INTREP
39 posted on 04/13/2004 9:17:38 PM PDT by LiteKeeper
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To: Dog Gone
It's thought that papyrus is only 5000 years old, about the time of Moses and we know by then much of the area was arid. The moderate climate in the ME was 5000 years before that.

I think your right. Moses's land of Milk and Honey was much different from the desert between Egypt and Israel but the ME much prior to that had a climate that was a very productive concerning agriculture.

In Diamond's "Guns, Germ and Steel" he make a good case for a latitudinal exchange of agriculture. From one armchair archaeologist to another, it's a fun book.

Also your comment on what your dog ate really broke up me and my 12 yo son. (He's an major archeology geek) Thank you.
40 posted on 04/13/2004 10:03:40 PM PDT by lizma
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To: CobaltBlue
There's also a lot of fascinating information about the origins of agriculture (as well as the origins of writing, animal domestication, shipbuilding, nationstates, etc.) in the great book "Guns, Germs, and Steel: The fates of human societies", by Jared Diamond. I received this book for Christmas and hugely enjoyed it. It won the Pulitzer Prize, and I can certainly understand why. It's more informative (and a hell of a lot more interesting) than most college courses.
41 posted on 04/13/2004 10:29:48 PM PDT by Ichneumon
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To: txflake
and I can pretty much prove that if you will give your dog one pound of 70/30 hamburger plus two raw eggs per day, you will produce a healthy, strong animal, compared to the IAMS diet stuff. At about 1/2 the price. Many folks think dog 'food' is an improvement, ignoring canine dietary evolution.

A few months ago we switched our dogs from standard bags of dry dog food to a diet formulated by a local breeder/kennel. From their recipe, we mix up a daily batch consisting of boiled ground chicken, shredded carrots, active yogurt, protein powder (mostly fish meal), powdered shark cartilage, sunflower oil, Grape Nuts(tm), hard boiled eggs, a couple scoops of high-quality kibble, and enough beef or chicken broth to make it suitably moist.

The dogs go nuts over it, it's cheaper than premium kibble, and just in the six weeks or so they've been on it, their coats are very noticeably more smooth, soft, and shiny.

The German Shepherds at the breeder, which have been fed this diet all their lives, are so sleek and shiny that they practically glow in the dark, and are very muscular and *huge*, like Arnold Schwarzeneggers of the dog world.

42 posted on 04/13/2004 10:43:27 PM PDT by Ichneumon
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To: lizma
"It's thought that papyrus is only 5000 years old, about the time of Moses and we know by then much of the area was arid. The moderate climate in the ME was 5000 years before that."

The oldest paper ever found was discovered in the Tarim Basin, with the Caucasian mummies in China. I don't remember how old it was/is but, it had the extinct Indo-European language 'Tocharian' written on it.

43 posted on 04/14/2004 6:16:10 AM PDT by blam
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To: Ichneumon
I've got that one on my bedside table, but it's so dense and chewy that I read it in little dribs and drabs. I've never had a good enough memory to just breeze through books like that.

44 posted on 04/14/2004 8:06:21 AM PDT by CobaltBlue (Never mind!)
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To: Shryke
Try the History of Salt. The Romans brewed a fish sauce that sounds like the equal of anything brewed in Asia in potency. The book never really explains why the practice died out in Europe and the Med during the Middle Ages.
45 posted on 04/14/2004 9:39:08 AM PDT by colorado tanker
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To: blam
I've read that it means your dog doesn't have enough protein in his diet.

My dog gets a serving of boiled chicken each day, in addition to her dry food. She'll eat cat sh** (or horse sh** if she gets the chance).

Dogs will just be dogs.

46 posted on 04/14/2004 9:42:05 AM PDT by dirtboy (John Kerry - Hillary without the fat ankles and the FBI files...)
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To: colorado tanker; All
My friend, here is the winner:

http://www.midwaysailor.com/lonardo/barbeque.html

Ballut. Buried, fertilized duck egg that is only eaten after it turns rotten. Care to explain how ANYONE ON EARTH could possibly try THAT? AAAAAAAUUUUGGGGH.
47 posted on 04/14/2004 10:12:56 AM PDT by Shryke
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To: Shryke
Eeeeeeyyyyyyyyuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhh!
48 posted on 04/14/2004 11:17:42 AM PDT by colorado tanker
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To: EggsAckley
...Maybe they were very, very hungry. LOL!

The hungriest person ever had to be the first one to try raw oysters!

49 posted on 06/10/2004 4:43:35 PM PDT by Lysander (Don't stand where I told you to stand. Stand where I told you to stand!)
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Just updating the GGG information, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list. Thanks.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on or off the
"Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list or GGG weekly digest
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50 posted on 02/04/2006 3:20:19 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Islam is medieval fascism, and the Koran is a medieval Mein Kampf.)
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