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Urine Salts Used to Reconstruct Human History

It was considered a crucial point in history when we humans transitioned from hunting and gathering and herding. The intensive production of food brought about technological advances that have enabled life today. I guess less time to worry about food, more time to study the world.

“How and when did this take place?” That would be difficult to answer. Fortunately, a new study published in Science Advances tried to reconstruct history through a different source: human and animal pee.


Whereas dung is commonly used in all sorts of studies, "this is the first time, to our knowledge, that people have picked up on salts in archaeological materials, and used them in a way to look at the development of animal management," says lead author Jordan Abell, a graduate student at Columbia's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

The team used the urine salts to calculate the density of humans and animals at the site over time, estimating that around 10,000 years ago, the density of people and animals occupying the settlement jumped from near zero to approximately one person or animal for every 10 square meters. The results suggest that domestication may have been more rapid than previously expected. They also support the idea that the Neolithic Revolution didn't have just one birthplace in the Fertile Crescent of the Mideast, but rather occurred across several locations simultaneously.

See more of this amazing discovery at

(Image Credit: G. Duru/

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