Ancient DNA Sample Reveals The History Of Cattle Herds In The Near East

Share

Ancient communities in the Near East were the first human establishments to keep livestock. This led to major progress in those communities, pathing the way to establishing complex economies and, eventually, to building cities. Subsequently, the first empires of the world rose to power and then fell. Recently, researchers found an ancient DNA sample that reveals the way in which the cow affected those events.

The mystery of bovine prehistory was solved by a team of international geneticists at the Trinity College Dublin. The experts sequenced 67 ancient genomes, gathered from across eight millennia, belonging to bot wild and domestic cattle. The study was funded by a European Research Council Advanced Grant.

The article depicting the discovery was published in Science. Marta Verdugo, the first author of the article, stated: “This allowed us to look directly into the past and observe genomic changes occurring in time and space, without having to rely on modern cattle genetic variation to infer past population events.”

Ancient DNA Sample Reveals The History Of Cattle Herds In The Near East

According to the results, the earliest cattle are Bos taurus, which is not related to Bos indicus or Zebu herds originating from the Indus Valley.
“However, a dramatic change occurred around 4,000 years ago when we detect a widespread, wholesale influx of zebu genetics from the east,” added Verdugo.

Near Eastern Bos taurus and Zebu coexisted for a long time. The spreading of zebu genetics could be a result of the drought across the Near East.

According to Dan Bradley, Professor of Population Genetics at Trinity, this event marks the beginning of the Zebu herds that continue in the present. “There is a great power in ancient genomics to uncover new, unforeseen tales from our ancient history,” said Professor Bradley.


Share

Recommended For You

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *