Siberians Raided Rodent Caches for Food

But plundering people sometimes left gifts of needles or cloth.

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. (Related: "Horse Taming, Milking Started in Kazakhstan.")

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

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