Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Dairy Farming Key to Early Human Occupation of Tibetan Plateau, Study Finds

Dairy farming played a key role in enabling prehistoric humans to survive the Tibetan Plateau's inhospitable environment, according to a proteomic analysis presented this week in Science Advances. The Tibetan Plateau — the world's highest and largest plateau — features a combination of cold temperatures, hyper-aridity, unpredictable weather, and low atmospheric pressure. While biological adaptations allowed early Tibetans to live at the high elevations of the plateau, acquiring sufficient food from the barren heights of the plateau also required cultural adaptations. Dairying appears to have been such a critical cultural adaptation, but its emergence is poorly understood. A team led by Max Planck Institute scientists has now analyzed ancient proteins from the dental calculus of 40 ancient individuals from arable and non-arable regions of the plateau. They find that dairying was introduced to the interior Tibetan Plateau by at least 3,500 years ago, more than 2,000 years earlier than recorded in historical sources. Dairy, the study's authors write, thus appears to have been vital to the expansion of early pastoralists into the Tibetan Plateau's vast, non-arable highlands, opening the region up to widespread, permanent human occupation.

The Scan

ChatGPT Does As Well As Humans Answering Genetics Questions, Study Finds

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics had ChatGPT answer genetics-related questions, finding it was about 68 percent accurate, but sometimes gave different answers to the same question.

Sequencing Analysis Examines Gene Regulatory Networks of Honeybee Soldier, Forager Brains

Researchers in Nature Ecology & Evolution find gene regulatory network differences between soldiers and foragers, suggesting bees can take on either role.

Analysis of Ashkenazi Jewish Cohort Uncovers New Genetic Loci Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

The study in Alzheimer's & Dementia highlighted known genes, but also novel ones with biological ties to Alzheimer's disease.

Tara Pacific Expedition Project Team Finds High Diversity Within Coral Reef Microbiome

In papers appearing in Nature Communications and elsewhere, the team reports on findings from the two-year excursion examining coral reefs.