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30 October 2005

Donkey Domestication Began in Africa

Donkey domestication began in Africa
19:00 17 June 2004 news service
Jeff Hecht

Genetic fingerprints indicate that wild African asses were the ancestors of domestic donkeys, making donkeys the only important domestic animal known to come from Africa.
Animal domestication was a key development in human culture. Meat animals came first, with cattle, sheep, goats and pigs initially domesticated between 10,000 and 11,000 years ago.
Animals useful for carrying loads and people, such as horses, donkeys and camels, came in a later wave about 5000 years ago, which enhanced trade and mobility. Donkeys were particularly important, being smaller, more durable and easier to handle and feed than horses.
The oldest remains date from 5000 to 6000 years ago in Egypt, and slightly later in Mesopotamia and Iran. However, the point of their original domestication had been unknown.

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