London, August 29 (ANI): In a new research, scientists have discovered that the earliest adult milk drinkers came from central Europe, a finding which overturns the notion than sun-starved Scandinavians got there first.
Unlike more than half of the world's people, most northern Europeans can digest milk, thanks to a gene that enables lactose digestion throughout adulthood.
"It was thought this gene first arose in Scandinavia, where lactose tolerance is most common, because it is a way of getting vitamin D in places with little sunshine," said Mark Thomas of University College London.
According to a report in New Scientist, his team has now narrowed down the emergence of the gene to a tribe of cattle herders living around 7,500 years ago between the Balkans and central Europe.
The distribution of the gene mutation across the continent runs parallel to the spread of Linearbandkeramik (Linear Band Pottery) people, a Neolithic farming culture that lived in central Europe 7500 years ago.
"It is likely that Linearbandkeramik dairy farmers were the first to drink fresh milk, without first processing it into yoghurt or cheese," Thomas said. (ANI)