An Israeli academic team says it has resolved the Biblical riddle of how Joseph the Dreamer preserved
's vast, but unsealed grain stores against invading pests during the seven year drought and saved the country's inhabitants from mass starvation. Egypt
The secret lies in the burnt corpse of a 3,500 year old beetle found in a grain of wheat claim researchers (Kislev, Simhoni and Melamed) from the laboratory for archaeological botany in the Life Sciences Department at
, Haaretz reported on Monday. Bar Ilan University
The beetle belongs to the highly destructive Rhyzopetha
species, commonly known as the Lesser Grain Borer, which invades wheat and barley stored in silos after it has been harvested in the field. dominica
Each female Lesser Grain Borer lays between 300 and 500 eggs a month giving birth to thousands of insect larvae a year which bore into wheat or barley. The pest can eat up a silo within a very short time.
The insect originated in
where its larvae had once bored into trees. But several thousand years ago at the time of Joseph when the insect began its westward migration to India Egyptand the Middle East, it changed its taste to wheat and barley.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Ancient grain borer reveals biblical pest control: study