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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Millet farmed in North China earlier than thought

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.

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