Early record of domestic animals

Early record of domestic animals

Archaeologists exploring a cave in Namibia have found evidence for the earliest domesticated animals in sub-Saharan Africa.

The cave, in the northwestern part of the country, contains stone and bone tools, beads and pendants, pieces of pottery, and the bones of many animals—guinea fowl, ostriches, monitor lizards, tortoises, impala, rock hyraxes and various rodents.

The researchers also found two teeth of either a goat or a sheep – the teeth were too worn to say which, but their form is consistent with that of modern African domesticated sheep and goats. There are no wild sheep or goats in sub-Saharan Africa today. Although some wild species probably became extinct around 12,000 years ago, there is no evidence of their presence in the western part of the continent. The researchers are certain that the remains they found belong to domestic animals.

The teeth date from 2,190 and 2,270 years ago. Until now, the oldest radiocarbon-dated remains were of 2,105-year-old-sheep found in South Africa.

The study, a collaboration between the National Museum of Namibia and the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, appears in PLoS One.

Cocktails may cut women's arthritis risk

Regular moderate consumption of beer, wine or liquor may reduce a woman's risk for rheumatoid arthritis, a new study reports.

Researchers collected data from two Swedish national health registers on 34,141 women born between 1914 and 1948. They gathered information on alcohol consumption in 1987 and 1997, and then tracked the women's health for seven years, from 2003 to 2009.

During the follow-up period, the researchers documented 197 cases of rheumatoid arthritis. After controlling for a variety of factors, they found that women who reported drinking more than three glasses of beer, wine or liquor per week had a 52 percent lower risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis than abstainers. The kind of drink consumed made no difference in the risk.

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