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Ancient Tooth Shows Mesolithic Ancestors Were Fish And Plant Eaters

It revealed fish scale fragments and fish muscle fibres

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Ancient Tooth Shows Mesolithic Ancestors Were Fish And Plant Eaters
Ancient Tooth Shows Mesolithic Ancestors Were Fish And Plant Eaters. (IANS)
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In a first, scientists have discovered evidence that humans from the Mesolithic period consumed fish and plants and also used their teeth for de-scaling activities.

The evidence was based on the analysis of microfossils entombed in the dental calculus — commonly known as tooth plaque or tartar — of a young male skeleton from Mesolithic period found in a cave on a Croatian island.

It revealed fish scale fragments and fish muscle fibres.

“Our data provides a novel perspective on forager diet in the Mediterranean region by revealing the role of marine organisms during the Mesolithic,” said lead researcher Emanuela Cristiani from Sapienza University of Rome.

“Whilst fishing during the Mesolithic period has been demonstrated by fish remains as well as fishing related technologies in the past, here for the first time we have direct evidence that humans consumed these resources or used their teeth for de-scaling activities, which is very unique,” added Harry Robson, from Britain’s University of York.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

However, the team was unable to identify the fish scales, although they were thought to be very similar to tuna, mackerel and gilthead sea bream.

The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, also showed microfossils of plants in the dental calculus, which has not been identified in skeletal remains in this part of the Mediterranean before.

“The recovery of starch granules from two wild grass groups in the dental calculus of the analysed individual, suggests that energy-rich plants were a part of the Holocene forager dietary habits in the region,” Cristiani said.

Also Read: Green Tea Can Help You to Deal With Tooth Sensitivity

“This is an exciting, but surprising finding. We only have three skeletal remains from this period that demonstrate the long-term consumption of marine-resources, so when you can identify microfossils of this kind, it can provide a great leap forward in our understanding.”

Previous analysis of Mesolithic skeletal remains had suggested a more varied Mediterranean diet consisting of terrestrial, freshwater and marine food resources. (IANS)

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Sitabinji: This Odisha village has a link to Ramayana & houses a 1500-yr-old Fresco art

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Sitabinji Caves

By Prateek Kumar

The ancient kingdom of Kalinga, which was invaded by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka in 261 BC resulting in the bloody Kalinga War, coincides with the modern day Odisha. The modern state of Orissa was established on 1 April 1936, as a province in British India and consisted predominantly of Oriya speaking regions. In this eastern state of India lies the hub of ancient painting, Sitabinji.

Sitabinji, a village near Keonjar district of Odisha is popularly known for the conservation of an ancient painting form created by tempera method. The 1300 to 1500 years old painting lies in between two giant boulders known as Ravana Chhaya. The place attained its name after the stream Sita that flows nearby.

According to Hindu Mythology, the name Ravana Chhaya means the “Shadow of Ravana”, the King of Lanka.

Architecture

There is a gap between two rock boulders of granite with a beautiful tempera art which is not linked with any religious beliefs and shows the prospect of royal procession. The bigger boulder is inclined towards smaller boulder, making a triangular gap in between which is  6.7 m in height and 4.7 m in depth.

Significance

The significance of the cave can be mapped in the ancient times, even before the art work was created. The cave was used by the followers of lord Shiva around 4th – 6th century AD. There they worshipped Mukha Linga, the linga with four faces of lord Shiva that still exist in the Sitabinji region and depicts that lord Shiva was very popular in Odisha during the 5th century AD.

Archaeology

The site contains fragments of bricks with Pali inscriptions. Soapstone figurines and Kushan coins were also found in the region along with the paintings older than Mesolithic period which is sometimes also referred as “the paintings of Sitabinji.”

Historical Significance

The tempera art form of Ravana Chhaya can be called as a marvel attained in ancient times. The rough layer of granite was smoothened with an aid of lime before carving the painting on a big boulder of rock, which is done with great perfection and dedication. The painting depicts the royal procession as a royal figure sitting on an elephant with a sword in hand, followed by women attendants and a few horsemen which is very less in common with Hindu religion. The theme of this carving is considered as a shelter for a royal retreat while hunting.

Below the painting there are verses inscribed in Sanskrit that describes the scene and its history. The engraved stone shows the name of king as Maharaja Sri Disabhanja, considered to be the earliest Bhanja king.

Different measures have been adopted by the government to preserve this ancient architecture as Keonjar is an industrial hub of India and can lead to the destruction of these historical pieces of art.  Furthermore, to protect the painting from water and other hazards, authorities have made a channel to clear the water from the rocks and have created a porch outside the cave. But unfortunately, the lower part of the painting is destroyed despite adopting all the protective measures.