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26 January, 2011

Siberians Raided Rodent Caches for Food

Siberians Raided Rodent Caches for Food: "To survive brutal winters, inhabitants of Siberia and the Russian Far East as recently as the late 19th century raided food stores—of rodents.

According to a new study, records by 18th-century Russian, Swedish, and German explorers describe people using sticks, hoes, or hooks to dig up caches of food gathered by voles and other small mammals.

At the time, most indigenous groups in the region lived nomadically, getting the bulk of their food from hunting, fishing, or herding sheep and horses.

In the absence of agriculture, people living in the region got all their vegetables from the wild, said study leader Ingvar Svanberg, an ethnobiologist at Uppsala University's Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies in Sweden.

'Instead of gathering themselves, by digging up roots in the fields, [people] let rodents do that for them,' Svanberg said..."

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