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Journal Article

Ancient proteins provide evidence of dairy consumption in eastern Africa

MPS-Authors
/persons/resource/persons221543

Bleasdale,  Madeleine
Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons246157

Richter,  Kristine Korzow
Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons221826

Janzen,  Anneke
Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons221086

Brown,  Samantha
FINDER, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons222952

Scott,  Ashley
Archaeogenetics, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons205500

Zech,  Jana
Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons222995

Wilkin,  Shevan
Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons240076

Wang,  Ke
Archaeogenetics, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons188297

Schiffels,  Stephan
Archaeogenetics, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons61098

Babiker,  Hiba
Linguistic and Cultural Evolution, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons98234

Power,  Robert C.
Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons222897

Ndiema,  Emmanuel
Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons223000

Zahir,  Muhammad
Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons188842

Petraglia,  Michael D.
Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons205854

Hendy,  Jessica
Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons210932

Crowther,  Alison
Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons198648

Roberts,  Patrick
Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons210934

Goldstein,  Steven T.
Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons188575

Boivin,  Nicole L.
Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

External Resource

Figure 1-14; Table 1-6; References
(Supplementary material)

Data 1–9
(Supplementary material)

Reporting Summary
(Supplementary material)

Fulltext (public)

shh2832.pdf
(Publisher version), 2MB

Supplementary Material (public)
There is no public supplementary material available
Citation

Bleasdale, M., Richter, K. K., Janzen, A., Brown, S., Scott, A., Zech, J., et al. (2021). Ancient proteins provide evidence of dairy consumption in eastern Africa. Nature Communications, 12: 632. doi:10.1038/s41467-020-20682-3.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-DD13-B
Abstract
Consuming the milk of other species is a unique adaptation of Homo sapiens, with implications for health, birth spacing and evolution. Key questions nonetheless remain regarding the origins of dairying and its relationship to the genetically-determined ability to drink milk into adulthood through lactase persistence (LP). As a major centre of LP diversity, Africa is of significant interest to the evolution of dairying. Here we report proteomic evidence for milk consumption in ancient Africa. Using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) we identify dairy proteins in human dental calculus from northeastern Africa, directly demonstrating milk consumption at least six millennia ago. Our findings indicate that pastoralist groups were drinking milk as soon as herding spread into eastern Africa, at a time when the genetic adaptation for milk digestion was absent or rare. Our study links LP status in specific ancient individuals with direct evidence for their consumption of dairy products.