DNA from ancient animals will help trace cultural exchanges in China

Chinese archaeologists plan to use DNA from ancient domestic animals to establish their importance in cultural exchanges along the Silk Road in China.

Experts from Jilin University, located in the city of Changchun, capital of Jilin Province, northeast China, will collect samples of remains of domestic animals that have been discovered at various sites along the Silk Road. , to perform analysis of the entire genome.

Domesticated animals contributed to trade and trade as a stable resource of protein and energy.

Cai Dawei, a professor at the university, said the research would be a new vision of the development of the Silk Road.

The trip of an imperial emissary named Zhang Qian to the western regions around the year 140 a. C. is generally considered to be the beginning of cultural exchanges between East and West, but recent archaeological finds show that such activities actually began in prehistoric times. According to Cai, at the end of the Paleolithic they would already be taking place.

Among the first examples of exchanges are the arrival in the East of bronze smelting and domesticated animals, such as horses and cattle, and the introduction in the West of millet and decorated pottery.

The researchers, who have the support of China's National Social Science Fund and the cooperation of archaeologists from Central Asia and Europe, hope to complete their studies in 2022.

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