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标签:蜜蜂 蜂蜡
摘要 : 根据一项大规模的古文物调查,人们对蜜蜂的普遍喜爱可以追溯到石器时代。众所周知,人们对蜜蜂的喜爱——更确切地说是对蜂蜜以及蜂窝里随手可得的蜡的喜爱——由来已久。

 根据一项大规模的古文物调查,人们对蜜蜂的普遍喜爱可以追溯到石器时代。众所周知,人们对蜜蜂的喜爱——更确切地说是对蜂蜜以及蜂窝里随手可得的蜡的喜爱——由来已久。追溯到公元前2400年,蜜蜂便常见于古埃及象形文字中;一些更古老的岩石艺术也似乎表现的是人们采蜜的情景。这项新的调查揭示出了一个大背景,即从何时何地起采集野生蜜蜂的蜂蜜和蜡开始变得广为流行。在寻找蜂蜡的化学指纹图谱时,研究人员研究了来自新石器时代居住在近东、欧洲及北非地区的农民的约6400个陶壶的碎片。 科学家们今天在《自然》杂志网络版上报告称,早在至少9000年前,居于现在的土耳其地区的早期农民就已经在使用蜂蜡。蜡可能曾被用于制作防水罐,也可能是用于给食物添加甜味的蜂窝的残留物(参见上方的现代样品)。几千年后,在巴尔干半岛,蜂蜡已常见于陶土碗和筛上。残留在陶器上的蜡表明,已知的中欧地区的最早的农民——生活在公元前5500年至5200年——也频繁使用蜂窝,这比此前认为的早1500年。蜂蜡最北出现于丹麦的陶罐上,这可能是当时蜜蜂于生态上可以到达的极限了。


Widespread exploitation of the honeybee by early Neolithic farmers


The pressures on honeybee (Apis mellifera) populations, resulting from threats by modern pesticides, parasites, predators and diseases, have raised awareness of the economic importance and critical role this insect plays in agricultural societies across the globe. However, the association of humans with A. mellifera predates post-industrial-revolution agriculture, as evidenced by the widespread presence of ancient Egyptian bee iconography dating to the Old Kingdom (approximately 2400 BC). There are also indications of Stone Age people harvesting bee products; for example, honey hunting is interpreted from rock art2 in a prehistoric Holocene context and a beeswax find in a pre-agriculturalist site. However, when and wher the regular association of A. mellifera with agriculturalists emerged is unknown. One of the major products of A. melliferais beeswax, which is composed of a complex suite of lipids including n-alkanes, n-alkanoic acids and fatty acyl wax esters. The composition is highly constant as it is determined genetically through the insect’s biochemistry. Thus, the chemical ‘fingerprint’ of beeswax provides a reliable basis for detecting this commodity in organic residues preserved at archaeological sites, which we now use to trace the exploitation by humans of A. mellifera temporally and spatially. Here we present secure identifications of beeswax in lipid residues preserved in pottery vessels of Neolithic Old World farmers. The geographical range of bee product exploitation is traced in Neolithic Europe, the Near East and North Africa, providing the palaeoecological range of honeybees during prehistory. Temporally, we demonstrate that bee products were exploited continuously, and probably extensively in some regions, at least from the seventh millennium cal BC, likely fulfilling a variety of technological and cultural functions. The close association of A. mellifera with Neolithic farming communities dates to the early onset of agriculture and may provide evidence for the beginnings of a domestication process.

来源: Nature 浏览次数:0


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