Sunday, December 7, 2014
Milk consumption in late Neolithic/Bronze Age West Eurasia
The map below is based on data from Warinner et al. 2014. It shows the consumption of milk, or lack of, among Late Neolithic/Bronze Age (LN/BA) individuals from across West Eurasia. Admittedly, the sampling is very sparse, but like I've said before on these blogs, the LN/BA was a time of profound changes in Europe, so every scrap of data from this period is very valuable.
Note the lack of milk consumption among the samples from north of the Alps, where today the vast majority of people consume milk as adults, and can do so because they carry the Lactase Persistence Allele (T-13910). This doesn't look like a coincidence, considering the mounting evidence of a major population turnover across much of Europe during the LN/BA, mostly as a result of migrations from the east.
Warinner, C. et al. Direct evidence of milk consumption from ancient human dental calculus. Sci. Rep. 4, 7104; DOI:10.1038/srep07104 (2014).
Lactase persistence and ancient DNA
Ancient genomes from the Great Hungarian Plain