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Early Mixed Farming of Millet and Rice 7800 Years Ago in the Middle Yellow River Region, China

Early Mixed Farming of Millet and Rice 7800 Years Ago in the Middle Yellow River Region, China | Archaeology Articles and Books | Scoop.it

The Peiligang Culture (9000-7000 cal. yr BP) in the Middle Yellow River region, North China, has long been considered representative of millet farming. It is still unclear, however, if broomcorn millet or foxtail millet was the first species domesticated during the Peiligang Culture.

 

Furthermore, it is also unknown whether millet was cultivated singly or together with rice at the same period. In this study, phytolith analysis of samples from the Tanghu archaeological site reveals early crop information in the Middle Yellow River region, China. Our results show that broomcorn millet was the early dry farming species in the Peiligang Culture at 7800 cal. yr BP, while rice cultivation took place from 7800 to 4500 cal. yr BP.

 

Our data provide new evidence of broomcorn millet and rice mixed farming at 7800 cal. yr BP in the Middle Yellow River region, which has implications for understanding the domestication process of the two crops, and the formation and continuance of the Ancient Yellow River Civilization.

 

Citation: Zhang J, Lu H, Gu W, Wu N, Zhou K, et al. (2012) Early Mixed Farming of Millet and Rice 7800 Years Ago in the Middle Yellow River Region, China. PLoS ONE 7(12): e52146. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052146

 

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PLoS ONE: Earliest Mexican Turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) in the Maya Region: Implications for Pre-Hispanic Animal Trade and the Timing of Turkey Domestication

PLoS ONE: Earliest Mexican Turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) in the Maya Region: Implications for Pre-Hispanic Animal Trade and the Timing of Turkey Domestication | Archaeology Articles and Books | Scoop.it

Late Preclassic (300 BC–AD 100) turkey remains identified at the archaeological site of El Mirador (Petén, Guatemala) represent the earliest evidence of the Mexican turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) in the ancient Maya world. Archaeological, zooarchaeological, and ancient DNA evidence combine to confirm the identification and context. The natural pre-Hispanic range of the Mexican turkey does not extend south of central Mexico, making the species non-local to the Maya area where another species, the ocellated turkey (Meleagris ocellata), is indigenous. Prior to this discovery, the earliest evidence of M. gallopavo in the Maya area dated to approximately one thousand years later. The El Mirador specimens therefore represent previously unrecorded Preclassic exchange of animals from northern Mesoamerica to the Maya cultural region. As the earliest evidence of M. gallopavo found outside its natural geographic range, the El Mirador turkeys also represent the earliest indirect evidence for Mesoamerican turkey rearing or domestication. The presence of male, female and sub-adult turkeys, and reduced flight morphology further suggests that the El Mirador turkeys were raised in captivity. This supports an argument for the origins of turkey husbandry or at least captive rearing in the Preclassic.

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PLoS ONE: Neandertal Humeri May Reflect Adaptation to Scraping Tasks, but Not Spear Thrusting

PLoS ONE: Neandertal Humeri May Reflect Adaptation to Scraping Tasks, but Not Spear Thrusting | Archaeology Articles and Books | Scoop.it
Unique compared with recent and prehistoric Homo sapiens, Neandertal humeri are characterised by a pronounced right-dominant bilateral strength asymmetry and an anteroposteriorly strengthened diaphyseal shape. Remodeling in response to asymmetric forces imposed during regular underhanded spear thrusting is the most influential explanatory hypothesis. The core tenet of the “Spear Thrusting Hypothesis”, that underhand thrusting requires greater muscle activity on the right side of the body compared to the left, remains untested. It is unclear whether alternative subsistence behaviours, such as hide processing, might better explain this morphology. To test this, electromyography was used to measure muscle activity at the primary movers of the humerus (pectoralis major (PM), anterior (AD) and posterior deltoid (PD)) during three distinct spear-thrusting tasks and four separate scraping tasks. Contrary to predictions, maximum muscle activity (MAX) and total muscle activity (TOT) were significantly higher (all values, p<.05) at the left (non-dominant) AD, PD and PM compared to the right side of the body during spear thrusting tasks. Thus, the muscle activity required during underhanded spearing tasks does not lend itself to explaining the pronounced right dominant strength asymmetry found in Neandertal humeri. In contrast, during the performance of all three unimanual scraping tasks, right side MAX and TOT were significantly greater at the AD (all values, p<.01) and PM (all values, p<.02) compared to the left. The consistency of the results provides evidence that scraping activities, such as hide preparation, may be a key behaviour in determining the unusual pattern of Neandertal arm morphology. Overall, these results yield important insight into the Neandertal behavioural repertoire that aided survival throughout Pleistocene Eurasia.
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PLoS ONE: Form and Function of Early Neolithic Bifacial Stone Tools Reflects Changes in Land Use Practices during the Neolithization Process in the Levant

PLoS ONE: Form and Function of Early Neolithic Bifacial Stone Tools Reflects Changes in Land Use Practices during the Neolithization Process in the Levant | Archaeology Articles and Books | Scoop.it

For many, climate change is no longer recognized as the primary cause of cultural changes in the Near East. Instead, human landscape degradation, population growth, socioeconomic adjustments, and conflict have been proposed as the mechanisms that shaped the Neolithic Revolution. However, as Bar-Yosef noted, even if there is chronological correlation between climate changes and cultural developments, what is important is to understand how Neolithic societies dealt with these improving or deteriorating environments.

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