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科学美国人60秒: 陶器揭露人类养蜂历史

所属教程:科学美国人60秒科学系列 更新:02-06
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Stone Age Pottery Reveals Signs of Beekeeping

陶器揭露人类养蜂历史

You have bees to thank every time you drizzle some honey into your tea. And the human-honeybee relationship is long-standing. Iconography of honeybees adorns 4400-year-old walls in ancient Egypt. Rock art has been found that depicts a stone age bee harvest. But exactly when early farmers began to exploit bees has been unclear.

每次在茶水里滴入蜂蜜时,你都要感谢蜜蜂。同时人类和蜜蜂的关系时间久远。蜜蜂的形象在古埃及有着4400年历史的墙壁上就曾出现。人们还发现了刻画着石器时代蜜蜂收获场景的岩画。但是古代农民到底何时开始利用蜜蜂,我们尚不清楚。

Those farmers exploited bees for more than honey. Research has shown that they also employed the beeswax for cosmetics, fuel, medicine, and to perform rituals.

古代的农民不仅仅利用蜜蜂酿取蜂蜜。研究表明,他们还利用蜂蜡制成化妆品、燃料、药品,并将蜂蜡用于宗教仪式。

Beeswax contains complex fats that leave a recognizable residue on pottery and other archaeological artifacts. And scientists have now used that beeswax residue to analyze what they’ve determined to be the earliest known human-and-bee association, dating back some 9,000 years.

蜂蜡中含有复杂的脂类物质,这些物质可在陶器以及其他考古文物上留下可识别的残留物。科学家们已经确定人类和蜜蜂的关系,最早可追随到9000多年以前。现在他们利用蜂蜡的残留物来研究这一结论。

The researchers surveyed Europe, the Near East and northern Africa. They found beeswax on pottery vessels from Neolithic farming sites in Anatolia, in or near modern-day Turkey. They also discovered the first evidence of beeswax at Neolithic sites in Northern Africa. And the lack of wax residues in Ireland, Scotland and the Scandanavian peninsula led them to conclude that those locations were above what must have been a northern limit for honeybees. The study is in the journal Nature.

研究人员调查了欧洲、近东以及北非地区。他们在安纳托利亚、近现代土耳其的新石器农业考古点出土的陶器上发现了蜂蜡残留物。同时研究人员还首次在北非的新石器考古点发现了蜂蜡。而爱尔兰、苏格兰以及Scandanavian半岛未发现蜂蜡残留物。因此,研究人员认为,这些地区一定是蜜蜂的北部边界地区。该研究结果发表在《自然》杂志上。

The researchers say that the beeswax residues at these human-occupied sites may be clues pointing to the very beginnings of bee domestication. With thousands of years of sweet results for us all.

研究人员称,在人类居住地的蜂蜡残留物可能会是研究蜜蜂驯化开始的线索。这个结论对我们所有人来都是人类已经拥有了几千年的甜蜜享受的证据呢。

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