Sunday, March 29, 2009
New isotopic studies on the bones of dogs and pigs in Dadiwan tell us that dogs, and hence people too, had a millet-based diet as early as 7900-7200 years ago (Dadiwan 1). They were therefore surely farmers at that early stage.
Pigs instead only show the millet isotopic signature in the second phase (6500-4900 BP), what suggests to researchers that they were still wild (though maybe they were just being fed in woodlands, as pigs have been traditionally fed everywhere, I guess).
In any case this research confirms the oldest possible dates for the beginning of agriculture in Northern China.
Source: Science Daily - Early Agriculture Left Traces In Animal Bones.
Paper: L. Barton et al., Agricultural origins and the isotopic identity of domestication in northern China. PNAS, 2009.