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Researchers from the UK report finding ruminant milk residue inside a type of ancient spouted clay bowl that sometimes featured animal feet and heads. The earliest examples of this kind of vessel — which the researchers are calling prehistoric baby bottles — date back more than 7,000 years.

“I can just imagine a little prehistoric child being given one of these with milk in it and laughing,” says the paper’s lead author, archaeologist Julie Dunne of the University of Bristol. “They’re just fun. They’re like a little toy as well.” She says the animal-shaped vessels seem to represent “mythical animals” rather than realistically depicting any particular type of creature. The milk molecules they found came from animals such as sheep, goats and cows. “This is the first time that we’ve been able to identify the types of foods fed to prehistoric babies,” says Dunne.

See: “Prehistoric Babies Drank Animal Milk From Bottles” by Emily Vaughn on the National Public Radio website (2019)

See also “What was in prehistoric baby bottles? Now we know” by Megan Gannon on the National Geographic website (2019)

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