The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Thursday, August 21, 2014


Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: Eating nuts caused tooth decay in hunter-gatherers
Map of the Iberomaurusian culture (highlighted in green). Photo: José-Manuel Benito Álvarez.

By: Kerry Sheridan

WASHINGTON (AFP).- Eating nuts and acorns may have helped hunter-gatherers survive 15,000 years ago in northern Africa but the practice wreaked havoc on their teeth, researchers said Monday.

Fermented carbohydrates in the nuts caused cavities, tooth decay and bad breath, said the study led by British scientists in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a US journal.

The findings offer the earliest evidence of nut harvesting and storage among African hunter-gatherers, and are based on dozens of hole-riddled dental remains found in Morocco's Taforalt Cave.

Dental woes have long been believed to originate in later farming cultures some 10,000 years ago, when people began eating processed foods on a wide scale.

Toothaches were presumed rare among hunter-gatherers. But this research suggests they arose earlier than previously thought by several thousand years.

The study pointed to an "exceptionally high prevalence of caries," or dental disease, found in 51 percent of teeth among the adult remains.

That is far higher than the rate of tooth decay generally seen in hunter-gatherers, which has ranged from zero to 14 percent, and much closer to the level seen in prehistoric farmers, said the study.

"The majority of the people's mouths were affected by both cavities in the teeth and abscesses," said co-author Isabelle DeGroote of Liverpool John Moores University.

"They would have suffered from frequent tooth ache and bad breath."

The latest analysis was done on a total of 52 adults whose remains were found in the 1950s as well as during more recent excavations that were begun in 2003.

Scientists used accelerator mass spectrometry to date the remains and potent microscopes to identify the fossils of plant material which included acorns, pine nuts, juniper berries, pistachios and wild oats.

There were so many remnants of acorns that researchers came to the conclusion that they must have been harvested and stored for eating as a staple food all year long.

Long esparto grasses were also identified in the excavation, and were likely used to weave baskets for carrying nuts, storing them and even cooking them, the study said.

"This is the first time we have documented this set of behaviors in the Iberomaurusian," a distant culture that thrived in the Maghreb, said lead author Louise Humphrey of The Natural History Museum of London, in an email to AFP.

"It is the earliest documented evidence of systematic exploitation of wild plant resources in hunter-gatherers from Africa."

Iberomaurusian people inhabited Taforalt some 13,000 to 15,000 years ago.

They are described as "complex hunter-gatherers" who performed elaborate burials of their dead, used grindstones to prepare food and engaged in harvesting and storage of wild nuts, the study said.

© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse



Today's News

January 7, 2014

Archaeologists from the University of Pennsylvania identify tomb of Egypt pharaoh

British Museum acquires two important and unique sets of Pablo Picasso linocuts

Christie's announces "Modern Masters: Works from an Important Private Swiss Collection"

Deutsche Bank KunstHalle presents works from the bank's own collection for the first time

Louvre collects millions to restore masterpiece "Winged Victory of Samothrace"

Luca della Robbia's marble Cantoria panels to travel to the U.S. for the first time

Fashion legend Saint Laurent brought to life in biopic by French actor-turned-director Jalil Lespert

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: Eating nuts caused tooth decay in hunter-gatherers

Sweden's Nationalmuseum presents photographer Hans Gedda retrospective this winter

Brazilian artist Laura Lima's first solo exhibition in Switzerland on view at Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst

Dutch inflatable giant duck artist Florentijn Hofman protests at Taiwan 'copycat'

Angry Lebanese protest over attack on priest's library that destroyed over 50,000 books

National Air and Space Museum scientist Ross Irwin receives Presidential Early Career Award

The Catlin Guide 2014: New Artists in the UK launches at London Art Fair

Early American glass highlights Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates auction

Artists Hannah Weinberger and Ferdinand Kriwet exhibit at Fri Art

Arsenal Institute for Film and Video Art presents Howard Hawks retrospective

Sculpture and printmaking are at the heart of two new exhibitions at Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery

Acker Merrall & Condit's 2014 January Hong Kong Auction features two extraordinary Burgundy collections

France moves to ban controversial comic

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Mystery over massive Alexander the Great-era tomb unearthed in northern Greece

2.- An ancient money box containing a large rare hoard of coins found in Israel

3.- Robin Williams' portrait installed today at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington

4.- The Baltimore Museum of Art announces three new contemporary exhibitions in fall

5.- New Aspen Art Museum designed by architect Shigeru Ban opens to the public

6.- New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art launches 82nd & Fifth app in 12 languages

7.- MoMA online-only publication features new research on Pablo Picasso and Cubism

8.- Volunteers needed for massive Smithsonian digitization project

9.- Tate Britain welcomes home John Everett Millais's Ophelia and Rossetti’s The Beloved

10.- Bogart estate: Hollywood golden age icon Lauren Bacall dead at 89 in New York



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Rmz. - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site