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Ancient bed turned into bug repellent

A finding published in a Science journal reveals that a 77,000-year-old plant found in a cave in South Africa’s KwaZulu Natal province was being used as bug repellents more than 50,000 years back.

Almost 80,000 years before humans began using chemical sprays to control insect pests, Africans were using mattresses made from bug-repelling plants to ensure a good night’s sleep. The leaves contained chemicals that repelled mosquitoes and other insects.

The bedding consists of thick layers of compacted stems and leaves of sedges and rushes collected from the banks of a nearby river. In the last few years, scientists have made a series of startling discoveries in South Africa shedding light on the lives of early humans.

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