Tooth enamel provides clues on tsetse flies and the spread of herding in ancient Africa

March 10, 2015 10:50 AM

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One of the most important technological advances of our species happened for the first time only in the last 12,000 years: food production, including agriculture and animal husbandry. For nearly 7 million years prior, our ancestors relied on hunting, scavenging and fishing for food. Food production made our species hugely successful and largely changed the structure of society. It’s what allowed our population to increase to today’s more than seven billion people.

The origin and spread of food production is different on each continent. In Africa, livestock domestication preceded plant domestication. The first food producers there lived in the north sometime between 10,000-8,000 years ago and slowly spread southward across the continent. Herders had made their...

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