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Ancient vessels found in present day Croatia. Image: Sibenik City Museum

A discovery in Croatia has more than doubled the length of known cheesemaking history, pushing it back nearly 4,000 years in time.

Traces of fat found in pottery unearthed on the Dalmatian Coast indicate that people were fermenting dairy to make cheese and yogurt around 7,200 years ago, according to a U.S.–European research team.

Why it matters: When they began to make dairy products, humans were able to settle and farm in northern Europe, since the advance would have reduced infant mortality and allowed the population to grow, according to a news release from Penn State.

Residues previously found in Mediterranean pottery indicate that non-fermented milk was being produced and stored around 500 years before cheese and yogurt.

  • When cheese came onto the scene, it brought with it new, specialized kitchenware, Penn State anthropology professor Sarah McClure told the university's news service.
  • The researchers found the cheese traces in animal- or human-shaped vessels called rhyta. They also uncovered sieves that appeared to be used for processing cheese and other fermented dairy.

The discovery was reported last week in the PLOS One academic journal.

Go deeper

Harry and Meghan accuse British royal family of racism

Photo: Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via Reuters

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle delivered a devastating indictment of the U.K. royal family in their conservation with Oprah Winfrey: Both said unnamed relatives had expressed concern about what the skin tone of their baby would be. And they accused "the firm" of character assassination and "perpetuating falsehoods."

Why it matters: An institution that thrives on myth now faces harsh reality. The explosive two-hour interview gave an unprecedented, unsparing window into the monarchy: Harry said his father and brother "are trapped," and Markle revealed that the the misery of being a working royal drove her to thoughts of suicide.

Updated 2 hours ago - Axios Twin Cities

In photos: Thousands rally for George Floyd ahead of Derek Chauvin's trial

Demonstrators on March 7 outside the Hennepin County Government Center, where the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, charged with murdering George Floyd, will begin in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Thousands of protesters marched through Minneapolis' streets Sunday, urging justice for George Floyd on the eve of the start of former police officer Derek Chauvin's trial over the 46-year-old's death, per AFP.

The big picture: Chauvin faces charges for second-degree murder and manslaughter over Floyd's death last May, which ignited massive nationwide and global protests against racism and for police reform. His trial is due to start Monday, with jury selection procedures.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
6 hours ago - Health

Pfizer CEO feels "liberated" after taking COVID vaccine

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla. Photo: "Axios on HBO"

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla tells "Axios on HBO" that he recently received his first of two doses of the company's coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: Bourla told CNBC in December that company polling found that one of the most effective ways to increase confidence in the vaccine was to have the CEO take it.