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How Wild Asses Became Donkeys Of The Pharaohs
New Scientist ^ | 3-10-2008 | Andy Coghlan

Posted on 03/10/2008 4:55:47 PM PDT by blam

How wild asses became donkeys of the pharaohs

21:00 10 March 2008
NewScientist.com news service
Andy Coghlan

The ancient Egyptian state was built on the backs of tamed wild asses. Ten skeletons excavated from burial sites of the first Egyptian kings are the best evidence yet that modern-day donkeys emerged through domestication of African wild asses. The 5000-year-old bones also provide the earliest indications that asses were used for transport.

The skeletons suggest that the smaller frames of today's donkeys hadn't yet evolved. Instead, the bones resemble those of modern-day Nubian and Somali wild asses, which are much larger than today's donkeys.

Extensive wear on the joints of the excavated skeletons shows that the animals lived their lives transporting heavy loads. Cargoes may have included stone for a nearby temple at the excavation site in Abydos, 500 kilometres south of Cairo, as well as wine, grain and precious stones.

"This is the very dawn of the Egyptian state, the engine of which was the donkey," says Fiona Marshall of Washington University in St Louis, Missouri, US, a member of the research team.

The only anatomical signs of the transition from ass to donkey are changes in the metatarsal bone of the lower leg, which made the leg more compact – presumably an adaptation to cope with carrying loads.

Journal reference: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0709692105)

(Excerpt) Read more at newscientist.com ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: agriculture; ancientegypt; animalhusbandry; asses; donkeys; godsgravesglyphs; pharaohs; workingdogs

1 posted on 03/10/2008 4:55:48 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam

I read “wild asses” and “donkeys” in the headline, and thought it was about the dems. Maybe Spitzer. BWAHAHAHAHAHA


2 posted on 03/10/2008 4:57:41 PM PDT by hsalaw
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To: blam

Oh boy, here we go.

“Wild asses” is just plain old low hanging fruit. :)


3 posted on 03/10/2008 4:59:10 PM PDT by VegasCowboy ("...he wore his gun outside his pants, for all the honest world to feel.")
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To: hsalaw
Yah beat me!!!

Hee Haw!

4 posted on 03/10/2008 4:59:23 PM PDT by Young Werther (Julius Caesar (Quae Cum Ita Sunt. Since these things are so.))
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To: blam

Wild asses were first harnessed by Pharaohs Ben Dover I and Phil Makraken II.


5 posted on 03/10/2008 5:04:41 PM PDT by rfp1234 (Phodopus campbelli: household ruler since July 2007.)
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To: blam

This could explain the close relationship between the descendents of the Israelites and the democrat party. Both were exploited by the Egyptians! :o


6 posted on 03/10/2008 5:05:38 PM PDT by stefanbatory
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To: blam

presumably an adaptation to cope with carrying loads.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

More likely an adaptation to slower speeds. Hauling water or food for a human doesn’t require fleet footedness.


7 posted on 03/10/2008 5:05:48 PM PDT by mamelukesabre (Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?)
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To: blam

bump


8 posted on 03/10/2008 5:06:13 PM PDT by Argus (Obama: All turban and no goats.)
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To: blam

How Wild Asses Became Donkeys...

For a moment there I thought this was a story about McCain...
9 posted on 03/10/2008 5:07:59 PM PDT by COBOL2Java ("McCain is a war hero. He's also a useful idiot for the Democrats." - Mark Levin)
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To: blam

If Baraq and the nominatrix can get on the same ticket, it will be a definite bumper sticker:

BUY ONE SURRENDER DONKEY, GET ONE FREE!

(Definitely NOT allowed to say the usual “Surrender Monkey”; so this is the next best thing.


10 posted on 03/10/2008 5:08:53 PM PDT by Migraine (Diversity is great...(until it happens to YOU).)
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To: blam
The ancient Egyptian state was built on the backs of tamed wild asses

According to Igor Shafarevich in The Socialist Phenomenon, all those early empires--Chinese, Inca, Middle Eastern--were basically socialist slave states, so it's no surprise that they depended on dumb donkeys for support, or that the ruling socialist politicians still try to catch wild ass today.

11 posted on 03/10/2008 5:10:55 PM PDT by hellbender
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To: blam

I have one of these critters and I think the opposite is occuring -— he is domesticating me.

When he brays very loudly I bring him food.


12 posted on 03/10/2008 5:17:30 PM PDT by squarebarb
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To: squarebarb
Donkeys are funny.

One was on the run with orders to shoot to kill (traffic hazard) when he took the RIGHT turn and came up my mom's driveway. My sister brushed the mites out of his ears and he was fed and tended to and put with a horse who he made friends with. He only ‘He'd’ usually (He....He....He...), but when he saw my sister he gave an entire “He-Haw...He-Haw..”

Domestication is funny that way. I am sure the many changes between the donkey and the wild ass are not only for carrying heavy loads or no longer needing to be fleet of foot. I think the squeaky wheel got the grease, as it were; and the ‘braying of an ass’ is still a pejorative because it is so objectionable.....will someone please feed that donkey?

13 posted on 03/10/2008 5:30:01 PM PDT by allmendream ("A Lyger is pretty much my favorite animal."NapoleonD)
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To: mamelukesabre; blam
More likely an adaptation to slower speeds. Hauling water or food for a human doesn’t require fleet footedness

These adaptations are much more likely due to selective breeding for compactness and load-carrying ability. Evolution doesn't work all that fast.

14 posted on 03/10/2008 5:50:15 PM PDT by Kenny Bunk (Nobama08. Get me a general for President and Steele or Blackwell for VP.)
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To: Kenny Bunk

Uh, no. More likely due to selective breeding for the donkeys that don’t run away.


15 posted on 03/10/2008 5:57:24 PM PDT by mamelukesabre (Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?)
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To: mamelukesabre

OK!


16 posted on 03/10/2008 5:58:28 PM PDT by Kenny Bunk (Nobama08. Get me a general for President and Steele or Blackwell for VP.)
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To: blam
the animals lived their lives transporting heavy loads.

Just Damn! And I thought those clever Egyptians used diesel trucks to haul those friggin super jumbo XXXXL size bricks up the ramp to stack up for their pyramids.

17 posted on 03/10/2008 6:03:21 PM PDT by webschooner (A Conservative voting for Juan McCain is like trying to pick up a turd by the clean end.)
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To: COBOL2Java

I thought it was how they changed from wild animals to voting democrats.


18 posted on 03/10/2008 6:05:05 PM PDT by tbw2 ("Sirat" by Tamara Wilhite - conservative Sci-fi - on amazon.com)
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To: blam
...as well as wine, grain and precious stones.

Bread!...Apples!...Very small rocks...

19 posted on 03/10/2008 6:20:09 PM PDT by uglybiker (I do not suffer from mental illness. I quite enjoy it, actually.)
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To: blam; big'ol_freeper; TrueKnightGalahad; blackie; Larry Lucido; Diplomat; honolulugal; Brandie; ...
Re: How Wild Asses Became Donkeys Of The Pharaohs

Does this mean the Liberal Democrats... are today's Pharaohs as they certainly have the market covered on Wild Asses!

20 posted on 03/10/2008 7:09:52 PM PDT by Bender2 ("I've got a twisted sense of humor, and everything amuses me." RAH Beyond this Horizon)
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To: Bender2

Always good to see you on a thread, Bender!


21 posted on 03/10/2008 9:40:30 PM PDT by tanuki (u)
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To: Bender2

Just cuz you don't own a donkey, don't mean ya don't gotta wash your arse.

22 posted on 03/11/2008 3:03:48 AM PDT by big'ol_freeper ("...millions hate what they mistakenly think that the Catholic Church is." ~ Archbishop Fulton Sheen)
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To: big'ol_freeper
Re: Just cuz you don't own a donkey, don't mean ya don't gotta wash your arse.

Golly, big, if there is anyone in my recall... who should know all about arse washing, it be you!

23 posted on 03/11/2008 5:05:04 AM PDT by Bender2 ("I've got a twisted sense of humor, and everything amuses me." RAH Beyond this Horizon)
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To: blam
Domestication Of The Donkey May Have Taken A Long Time
24 posted on 03/13/2008 7:43:23 PM PDT by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: blam; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 1ofmanyfree; 24Karet; 3AngelaD; 49th; ...

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25 posted on 03/13/2008 10:18:49 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/______________________Profile updated Saturday, March 1, 2008)
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