Who Drank Milk First?


According to New Scientist, a new study published in the journal PLoS Computational Biology has traced Europe's earliest adult milk-drinkers to modern day northwest Hungary and southwest Slovakia.

The research team tracked selection for the gene for lactose tolerance to a tribe of cattle herders located between the central Balkans and Central Europe 7,500 years ago. They posit that lactose tolerance likely spread geographically in association with the dissemination of the Linearbandkeramik, a Neolithic farming culture (the illustration above shows the early (dark green) and late phase (light green) spread of the Linearbandkeramk culture across Europe).

The findings trump the more common understanding that sun-deprived Scandinavians were the first among Europeans to drink milk, as a form of dietary compensation for a lack of Vitamin D.

Image: PLoS Computational Biology.



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