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Insect Repellents Existed in the Oldest Grass Beds

Scientists discovered that people who lived in Africa about 200,000 years ago slept on the grass and even burned grass to keep away insects. The remains of the oldest grass bedding were found in the Border Cave of South Africa. The remnants were discovered on top of the ashes of bedding that was burned previously.

Ashes were used to repel biting and crawling insects, which couldn’t move easily through fine powdery particles. The research team also found pieces of burned wood in the bedding. There were small fragments of camphor leaves. Camphor is an aromatic plant that is usually effective in repelling bugs.

The microscopic and chemical analyses of the sediments revealed that several beds were made from red grass and Guinea grass. The Border Cave’s entrance still has Guinea grass growing around it. Scientists theorize that dried bedding may have ended up in the small fire pits.

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/oldest-grass-beds-insect-repellent

 

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