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How a Wildly Popular Fashion Trend That Dominated Stone Age African Civilizations Suggests a 50,000-Year-Old Social Network

Although the picture may mislead you into thinking this story is about donuts, it’s actually about beads and the fascinating story they tell about ancient history in Africa. According to scientific findings reported in Nature, excavations across a wide swath of southern and eastern Africa have unearthed beads of a startling similarity, which can be traced to a period some 50,000 years ago.  The commonality of these beads indicates a fashion trend that united diverse cultures across an 1800 mile span and essentially served as the connective tissue for one of the world’s earliest social networks. Studying the beads further, experts hope, will help us understand social dynamics in Africa during the late Pleistocene era, roughly 126,000 to 11,700 years ago.