Ancient Cheesemaking and Diversified Dairy Herd in Late Neolithic Poland: New Evidence Uncovered by Archaeologists

In a recent study, evidence has been found for cheesemaking using milk from multiple animals during the Late Neolithic period in Poland. This research suggests that early farmers reduced the lactose content in milk by making it into cheese or other dairy products, such as yogurt, and utilized dairy products from several different animals, including cows, sheep, and goats.

During the Neolithic period until the Late Bronze Age, almost everyone in Europe had lactose intolerance. However, genetic mutations became widespread, enabling adults to produce lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose in the body. The researchers investigated dairy processing during the Late Neolithic period by identifying high curd-content residues in pottery, indicating cheesemaking, and revealing that multiple dairy species were utilized. By using a multi-stranded proteomic and lipid-analysis approach, the scientists and archaeologists from the Universities of York, Cambridge, Toruń, and Kraków investigated ceramics and deposits on their surface from the site of Sławęcinek in central Poland.

This new development provides evidence that cheesemaking (and other curd-enriching dairy processing) can be directly detected by scrutinizing the proportion of curd proteins, by comparing proteomic data. These results are the first of their kind in Europe and contribute significantly to our understanding of the use of dairy products by some of the earliest farmers in Central Europe.

While previous research has shown that dairy products were widely available in some European regions during this period, the present study provides clear evidence for a diversified dairy herd, including cattle, sheep, and goats, from the analysis of ceramics.

Despite widespread lactose intolerance during the Neolithic period, there is evidence of dairy being consumed, such as animal bones with kill patterns expected for dairy herds, dairy lipids in ceramic vessels, and dairy proteins in ancient dental calculus or plaque.

Lead author Miranda Evans, a Ph.D. student at Cambridge’s Department of Archaeology, said that the proteomic results showed that the ancient residues closely resembled both the modern cheesemaking residues and cheese itself and not whole milk. This reveals that the people of Sławęcinek practiced cheesemaking or another form of curd-enriching dairy processing.

Evidence of multiple species used for cheesemaking was backed up by the presence of both cow and sheep or goat bones on the site.

Dr. Harry Robson from the Department of Archaeology at the University of York said that these results contribute significantly to our understanding of the use of dairy products by some of the earliest farmers of Central Europe. Furthermore, Dr. Jasmine Lundy from the Department of Archaeology highlighted how complementary lipid and proteomic analyses are, particularly in understanding the use of the ceramic vessel over time. From this, for example, we could see that some techniques waterproof or seal the ceramics, and we could also determine what foods were being produced in them.

Overall, this study provides significant insights into the use of dairy products during the Late Neolithic period in Central Europe and how cheesemaking was practiced using milk from multiple animals. The use of proteomic and lipid-analysis approaches is an innovative and informative method for analyzing ancient residues, and the findings offer valuable contributions to our understanding of the development of food production and consumption in the Neolithic period.

Reference: Evans M, Lundy J, Lucquin A, Hagan R, Kowalski Ł, Wilczyńki J, Bickle P, Adamczak K, Craig OE, Robson HK, Hendy J. Detection of dairy products from multiple taxa in Late Neolithic pottery from Poland: an integrated biomolecular approach. Royal Society Open Science, 2023; 10 (3) DOI: 10.1098/rsos.230124

The world’s oldest cat, Flossie, is 27 years old.

27-year-old ‘Flossie’ crowned world’s oldest living cat

Described as an affectionate and playful cat, Flossie was born on the streets of England in 1995. Flossie took its place in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest-living cat and became immortal. Flossie’s record was confirmed at 26 years 316 days on November 10.

Born and later adopted in a cat colony in Merseyside, England, Flossie lives in Orpington, London, with her current owner, Vicki Green.

“I knew all along that Flossie was a special cat, but I didn’t think I would share my home with a Guinness World Record holder,” says Green, Flossie’s owner. “She’s so loving and playful, especially sweet when you remember how old she is. She is deaf and has poor eyesight, but none of that seems to bother her.” she continues.


Flossie is currently the oldest confirmed cat inside and is at least 120 years old to human age.

Happy new year Flossie…

Source: Guinness World Records

Does Toxoplasma turn immune cells into zombies?

toxoplasma gondii

Toxoplasma, an intracellular parasitic protozoan, is carried globally by a considerable proportion of the human population. So how does Toxoplasma spread within the body or how does it reach the brain?

Studies on how Toxoplasma protozoa spread within the body are continuing. One of them was recently published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe (IF=31.316, JCR Ranking Q1). Researchers shared the question and answer in the title of the article with the scientific world.

Ten Hoeve AL, Braun L, Rodriguez ME, Olivera GC, Bougdour A, Belmudes L, Couté Y, Saeij JPJ, Hakimi MA, Barragan A. The Toxoplasma effector GRA28 promotes parasite dissemination by inducing dendritic cell-like migratory properties in infected macrophages. Cell Host Microbe. 2022 Nov 9;30(11):1570-1588.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2022.10.001.

It is known that the roles of immune cells in the fight against infections are tightly regulated. It is important to illuminate how Toxoplasma has managed to infect so many human and animal species and spread so efficiently. At this point, Ten Hoeve and his team stated that they had found an answer. The key element of this response was the discovery of a protein. Researchers have identified a protein (GRA28) that Toxoplasma uses to reprogram the immune system.

The study findings indicated that Toxoplasma injects this particular protein into the nucleus of the immune cell, thereby changing the cell’s identity. Thus, it was shown that Toxoplasma tricked the immune cell into being another type of cell, in other words, it changed the gene expression and behavior of the immune cell. This situation was described by researchers as “Toxoplasma transforming immune cells into Trojan horses or wandering zombies that spread the parasite”. The study also highlighted that the parasite is much more targeted in its spread than previously thought.

Briefly about Toxoplasmosis (Toxoplasmosis)

The disease caused by toxoplasma is defined as toxoplasmosis and is one of the most common parasitic infections in humans worldwide, perhaps the most common. WHO estimates that at least 30% of the world’s human population are carriers of the parasite.

Domestic cats (not just domestic cats, but all felines) occupy a special place in the life cycle of Toxoplasma: sexual reproduction takes place only in the cat’s gut. Reproduction in other hosts, for example, humans, dogs, or birds, takes place by parasite division. At this point, the one health concept to fight the disease is important. Therefore, veterinarians play an important role in the detection, prevention, and treatment processes of both infected cats and cats in the final host role. This directly affects human health.

Toxoplasma (Toxoplasma gondii) infection is common in cats, but the clinical picture is rare. Up to 50% of cats, especially free-range ones, have antibodies that indicate infection and the presence of cystic stages. Clinical signs usually occur when cats are immunocompromised – in these cases, the cystic stages can be reactivated. Commonly affected organs are the central nervous system, muscles, lungs, and eyes. When cats shed oocysts, they can pose a risk to humans. However, this only happens once in their lifetime, usually for three to ten days after tissue cysts have been ingested.

Toxoplasma is transmitted to humans through food and contact with cats. In nature, the parasite spreads preferentially from rodents to cats, rodents, and the like. The parasites are “dormant” in the rodent’s brain, and when the cat eats the mouse, they multiply in the cat’s gut and are expelled through the feces. The parasite terminates in the vegetation and becomes infected when the rodent eats the vegetation. It is transmitted to humans through the consumption of meat or contact with cats, especially cat feces.

The disease caused by toxoplasmosis is defined as toxoplasmosis. When a person is first infected, they show symptoms similar to a cold or flu. After the initial infection stage, the parasite enters the “sleeping” stage in the brain and begins a chronic, silent infection that can last for decades or a lifetime. Chronic infection usually does not cause symptoms in healthy individuals. However, toxoplasma can cause a life-threatening brain infection (encephalitis) in people with compromised immune systems (HIV, transplant recipients, post-chemotherapy) and can be dangerous to the fetus during pregnancy. Eye infections can occur in healthy individuals.

Veterinarians of the Future took their first steps into the profession by wearing their white coats.

beyaz önlük töreni

Our students, who started their veterinary profession training at the Near East University Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in the fall term of 2022, took their first steps into the profession by wearing their white coats.

In addition to the academic staff of our faculty, the precious families and loved ones of our students participate and showed their interest, which was held with enthusiasm. Thus, our students took an important step towards gaining a sense of belonging in terms of being a member of the Veterinary Medicine family, to be the new veterinarians.

At the ceremony, our dean Prof. Dr. Deniz Seyrek İntaş explained the importance of the white coat, which is the symbol of medicine, with her speech. prof. In his speech, D. Seyrek İntaş said, “The white coat is a symbol of medicine. While some subjects are taught with experiences and proofs, some subjects are expressed with symbols silently. The crescent and star in the Turkish Veterinary Medicine emblem symbolize Turkish Veterinary Medicine, the viper symbolizes health, and the burning torch symbolizes brightness and civilization. White color symbolizes purity and cleanliness perfection. Now, as the veterinarians of the future, you will promise the same purity and cleanliness by wearing your aprons and reading the current version of the Hippocratic oath 2,500 years ago. This apron will always be with you throughout your professional life. I believe that after graduating from Near East University, each of you will be a research-oriented, knowledgeable, confident, and successful physician. Welcome back to our island and our university.”.

After our dean, Melisa Ünal spoke on behalf of our students and said, “On behalf of all my fellow students, I promise that we will lend a helping hand to all animals, become active physicians with the work we will do, and undertake important duties in animal rights.”.

After the speeches, our students were dressed in aprons by our academicians, and we are glad that we were able to share in this joy.

After the process of putting on the aprons of all our students was completed, the professional oath was read and thus the first step into the profession was taken.

We congratulate our students and wish them success.

The 2022 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Svante Pääbo for his work “Relating to the Genomes of Extinct Hominins and Human Evolution”.


Investigating the origin of humanity is one of the primary fields of study of scientists. Groundbreaking with his work in this field, Svante Pääbo achieved many seemingly impossible feats and was awarded the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Pääbo fully revealed the genome of the extinct Neanderthal (Homo neanderthalensis), as well as the sensational discovery of a previously unknown hominin, Denisovan (Denisova hominins). Furthermore, Pääbo discovered that gene transfer from these extinct hominins to modern humans (Homo sapiens) occurred around 70,000 years ago after migration from Africa. It was these studies that brought Pääbo the Nobel Prize.

Svante Pääbo, nobel
Prof. Dr. Svante Pääbo

Pääbo’s discoveries revolutionised our understanding of human evolution. At the time Homo sapiens migrated from Africa, Eurasia was home to at least two extinct hominin populations. Neanderthals lived in western Eurasia, while Denisovans lived in the continent’s east. It was discovered that during Homo sapiens’ expansion and eastward migration out of Africa, they met and interbred not only with Neanderthals but also with Denisovans. Pääbo’s findings have provided us with the knowledge that ancient gene sequences from our extinct ancestors had an impact on the physiology of modern humans. It is known, for example, that the EPAS1 gene, which provides high-altitude survival advantage and is common among Tibetans today, has Denisovan ancestry. Another example is genes inherited from Neanderthals that influence modern humans’ immune responses to various types of infections.


Pääbo’s research gave rise to a new scientific field known as paleogenomics. Paleogenomics is a branch of science concerned with the reconstruction and analysis of genomic data from extinct species. This discipline essentially seeks to answer the questions of what genetic differences distinguish modern humans from extinct hominins and what distinguishes modern humans.

Homo sapiens is distinguished by its unique ability to create complex cultures, advanced innovation and creativity, and the ability to cross open waters and spread across our planet. Neanderthals were also social creatures with large brains. Despite they have the ability to use tools, they have changed little over hundreds of thousands of years. Pääbo’s research revealed genetic differences between Homo sapiens and our closest extinct relatives. Research in this area is ongoing, and gaps in understanding what makes modern humans unique are being filled.

Major studies of Svante Pääbo

  • Green RE, Krause J, Briggs AW, Maricic T, Stenzel U, Kircher M, Patterson N, Li H, Zhai W, Fritz MH, Hansen NF, Durand EY, Malaspinas AS, Jensen JD, Marques-Bonet T, Alkan C, Prüfer K, Meyer M, Burbano HA, Good JM, Schultz R, Aximu-Petri A, Butthof A, Höber B, Höffner B, Siegemund M, Weihmann A, Nusbaum C, Lander ES, Russ C, Novod N, Affourtit J, Egholm M, Verna C, Rudan P, Brajkovic D, Kucan Ž, Gušic I, Doronichev VB, Golovanova LV, Lalueza-Fox C, de la Rasilla M, Fortea J, Rosas A, Schmitz RW, Johnson PLF, Eichler EE, Falush D, Birney E, Mullikin JC, Slatkin M, Nielsen R, Kelso J, Lachmann M, Reich D, Pääbo S. A draft sequence of the Neandertal genome. Science. 2010 May 7;328(5979):710-722. doi: 10.1126/science.1188021.
  • Krause J, Fu Q, Good JM, Viola B, Shunkov MV, Derevianko AP, Pääbo S. The complete mitochondrial DNA genome of an unknown hominin from southern Siberia. Nature. 2010 Apr 8;464(7290):894-7. doi: 10.1038/nature08976.
  • Pääbo S. Molecular cloning of Ancient Egyptian mummy DNA. Nature. 1985 Apr 18-24;314(6012):644-5. doi: 10.1038/314644a0.
  • Krings M, Stone A, Schmitz RW, Krainitzki H, Stoneking M, Pääbo S. Neandertal DNA sequences and the origin of modern humans. Cell. 1997 Jul 11;90(1):19-30. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(00)80310-4.
  • Reich D, Green RE, Kircher M, Krause J, Patterson N, Durand EY, Viola B, Briggs AW, Stenzel U, Johnson PL, Maricic T, Good JM, Marques-Bonet T, Alkan C, Fu Q, Mallick S, Li H, Meyer M, Eichler EE, Stoneking M, Richards M, Talamo S, Shunkov MV, Derevianko AP, Hublin JJ, Kelso J, Slatkin M, Pääbo S. Genetic history of an archaic hominin group from Denisova Cave in Siberia. Nature. 2010 Dec 23;468(7327):1053-60. doi: 10.1038/nature09710.
  • Slon V, Mafessoni F, Vernot B, de Filippo C, Grote S, Viola B, Hajdinjak M, Peyrégne S, Nagel S, Brown S, Douka K, Higham T, Kozlikin MB, Shunkov MV, Derevianko AP, Kelso J, Meyer M, Prüfer K, Pääbo S. The genome of the offspring of a Neanderthal mother and a Denisovan father. Nature. 2018 Sep;561(7721):113-116. doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0455-x.
  • Pinson A, Xing L, Namba T, Kalebic N, Peters J, Oegema CE, Traikov S, Reppe K, Riesenberg S, Maricic T, Derihaci R, Wimberger P, Pääbo S, Huttner WB. Human TKTL1 implies greater neurogenesis in frontal neocortex of modern humans than Neanderthals. Science. 2022 Sep 9;377(6611):eabl6422. doi: 10.1126/science.abl6422.

Source: The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2022. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2022. Wed. 12 Oct 2022.

Current Approaches in Equine Medicine symposium were held.

The “Current Approaches in Equine Medicine Symposium” organized by the Cyprus International Veterinary Students’ Union was held at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Near East University with intense participation.

Horses are among the animals that have an important place in the history of the world. They have always been on the side of people in many fields from war to travel, from freight transportation to agriculture. Today, horse breeding and equestrianism are still the passions of enthusiasts. Equine medicine continues to be one of the important fields of veterinary judgement.

In the “Current Approaches in Equine Medicine” symposium hosted by the Near East University Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, and organized by the Cyprus International Veterinary Students Association (IVSA-Cyprus), many issues related to “equine medicine” were discussed in six sessions. Many lecturers from the Near East University Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Istanbul University-Cerrahpaşa Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Uludağ University Faculty of Veterinary Medicine attended the symposium as speakers.

Everything about equine medicine was discussed in 6 sessions. In the second session, chaired and moderated by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Serkan Sayıner, Dean of Istanbul University Cerrahpaşa Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Prof. Dr. Güven Kaşıkçı from Obstetrics and Gynecology Department. made their presentation titled “Blood Incompatibility in Mares During Pregnancy”. Prof. Dr. Kaşıkçı gave detailed information about the formation of a foal, its growth in the womb and possible problems after birth.

Alıntı: YDÜ Veteriner Hekimliği Fakültesi

We met with our colleagues at a seminar entitled: Leishmaniasis in Dogs.

Leishmaniasis Cyprus

Serkan Sayıner, DVM PhD. Assoc. Prof. took part as an invited speaker at the seminar on “Leishmaniasis in Dogs” organized by One Health Cyprus on February 26th, 2022.

The seminar on “Leishmaniasis in Dogs”, which brings together veterinarians carrying out animal health services on both sides of the island of Cyprus, was held at the Home For Co-operation. During the seminar, up-to-date information, and experiences on the issue, which affects the dog population on the island and is also important for public health, were shared.

serkan sayıner doç

In his presentation titled “Canine Leishmaniosis: Laboratory Markers in Diagnosis and Monitoring”, Dr. Sayiner gave information about the physiopathology of the disease and its projection, the markers used in the diagnosis and monitoring of the disease and treatment, and their evaluations. At the seminar, Prof. Dr. Gaetano Oliva from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Naples., and Dr. Vasiliki Christodoulou from Southern Cyprus Veterinary Services provided up-to-date information on the transmission routes of the disease, its epidemiology, diagnosis, prevention and vaccine effectiveness. In addition, in the seminar where the possibilities of working together were discussed, data on the spread of the disease on the island was shared.

I would like to thank the One Health Cyprus organisation for inviting me to this event, which I think was very enjoyable and beneficial.