martes, 8 de noviembre de 2016

Archaeologists Find Evidence That Prehistoric Peoples Ate (and Possibly Hunted) Whales


 
Early humans may have been more sophisticated and even gutsier than we realized. Researchers examining 4000-year-old trash heaps have identified the genetic remains of several species of whales. The team published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

The first Greenlanders were the Saqqaq people, who arrived on the frozen continent around 2500 BCE. These were tempestuous times for our planet’s climate and, consequently, for its inhabitants, especially those in extreme habitats. The Saqqaq had to be super-adaptable if they wanted to survive.

Much of what we know about these early Greenlanders has come as a result of picking through their trash. Over the last century, archaeologists have excavated numerous middens (garbage dumps) dating back to the very first Saqqaq settlements. Unsurprisingly, they’ve found a lot of chunks of bone. Bone fragments are super-interesting, but they’re also quite limited in what they can tell us about a given civilization. For one thing, it’s hard to differentiate closely related species by looking at chips of their bones. For another, not every animal skeleton would end up on a trash heap. If the Saqqaq were hunting large animals, it’s unlikely that they would have dragged whole carcasses all the way home.

Fortunately, the middens contained a lot more than just bones. [...] Mental Floss / Link 2