Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Stone Age humans 'brought deer to Scotland by sea'

Scientists say red deer were transported "considerable distances" by boat to Scottish islands. CREDIT: ALAMY

Stone Age humans populated the Scottish islands with red deertransported "considerable distances" by boat, said researchers, who admitted surprise at our prehistoric ancestors' seafaring prowess.

DNA analysis revealed that deer on Scotland's northermost islands were unlikely to have come from the closest and seemingly most obvious places - mainland Scotland, Ireland or Norway, said a study in the Royal Society journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

"Our results imply that Neolithic humans were transporting deer considerable distances, by sea, from an unknown source" some 4,500-5,500 years ago, co-author David Stanton, of Cardiff University, said.

"These results are surprising... The evidence suggests that we have misunderstood our relationship with this species," he added.

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