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Donkey Domestication Began In Africa
New Scientist ^ | 6-17-2004 | Jeff Hecht

Posted on 06/18/2004 8:40:41 AM PDT by blam

Donkey domestication began in Africa

19:00 17 June 04

NewScientist.com news service

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.

To solve the mystery, Albano Beja-Pereira of the University Joseph Fourier in Grenoble, France, visited 52 countries, collecting samples from domestic donkeys and from wild asses and their relatives in Africa and Asia.

Tamed twice

Mitochondrial DNA comparisons revealed two distinct populations of domestic donkeys. One is clearly derived from the Nubian subspecies of wild ass, Equus asinus africanus. The second is close to the Somalian wild ass, Equus asinus somaliensis, but does not fall within the wild range.

Beja-Pereira's group suggests that donkeys were most probably domesticated twice, once from each of the two existing African wild asses, which diverged hundreds of thousands of years ago. Genetic studies of other livestock species also show they were domesticated more than once.

The data clearly excludes the Asian "half-asses," Equus hemionus and Equus kiang, as possible ancestors of domesticated donkeys, says Steve Jordan of Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, US, a member of the team that analysed the relationships.

However, he told New Scientist that the non-Nubian donkeys might be descended from a different subspecies that was not sampled, either because it is extinct or it lives in an inaccessible area. Jordan suggests an African population, but Richard Meadow of Harvard says the missing group might have been a now-extinct population of wild asses found in the Levant and Yemen.

Donkey populations are unusual in having the same genetic mix around the world, a trait found in horses, but not in cattle, sheep, goats or pigs.

Journal reference: Science (vol 304, p 1781)

Jeff Hecht


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: africa; agriculture; animalhusbandry; dietandcuisine; dna; domestication; donkey; donkeys; equines; godsgravesglyphs; helixmakemineadouble; horses; huntergatherers; unicorns; workingdogs

1 posted on 06/18/2004 8:40:42 AM PDT by blam
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To: farmfriend

GGG Ping.


2 posted on 06/18/2004 8:41:18 AM PDT by blam
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To: blam
This headline begs sarcastic responses...to wit:

Donkey domestication did not occur in the Clinton, Kerry, or Kennedy houselholds...!

3 posted on 06/18/2004 8:44:23 AM PDT by Young Werther
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To: blam

"wild African asses"

Nah, too easy.


4 posted on 06/18/2004 8:45:57 AM PDT by subterfuge (Liberalism is, as liberalism does.)
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To: blam

You're Lyin' Your Ass Off!!

5 posted on 06/18/2004 8:47:11 AM PDT by andy58-in-nh
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To: blam

The donkey is God's gift to the world and history.


6 posted on 06/18/2004 8:47:36 AM PDT by cyborg
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To: subterfuge

Isnt JFnK married to one of those?


7 posted on 06/18/2004 8:48:00 AM PDT by cripplecreek (you tell em i'm commin.... and hells commin with me.)
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To: blam

Now if we could just domesticate the party that has a jackass for their logo, the country would be in much better shape.


8 posted on 06/18/2004 8:51:19 AM PDT by tkathy (nihilism: absolute destructiveness toward the world at large and oneself)
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To: cripplecreek

You're referring to a "NAG".

NAG (noun):
A horse, especially:
An old or worn-out horse.
Slang.


9 posted on 06/18/2004 8:56:29 AM PDT by John Frum
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To: andy58-in-nh

Does this explain, then, why the Donkey character in the "Shrek" films is voiced by Eddie Murphy, himself of African descent?

Under conventional, stereotypical circumstances, we would have expected Donkey to have a Mexican accent, perhaps be voiced by Cheech Marin. But, no; science triumphs again!


10 posted on 06/18/2004 8:57:30 AM PDT by rrstar96 (Strength and Honor!)
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To: John Frum

or as Rush has defined them...NAG...National Association of Gals...formerly NOW.


11 posted on 06/18/2004 9:00:18 AM PDT by Keith (IT'S ABOUT THE JUDGES)
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To: blam
OK call me stupid, what's the difference between a donkey and a burro...or is there a difference?
12 posted on 06/18/2004 9:06:51 AM PDT by SMARTY
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To: rrstar96
...we would have expected Donkey to have a Mexican accent...

Si, Senor.

13 posted on 06/18/2004 9:13:37 AM PDT by andy58-in-nh
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To: SMARTY
OK call me stupid, what's the difference between a donkey and a burro...or is there a difference?

Burro's have mustaches and like hot sauce on their oats.

14 posted on 06/18/2004 9:17:55 AM PDT by Jimmyclyde (Dying ain't much of a living boy...)
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To: blam

I'm an African-American!

(folks always call me an ass)


15 posted on 06/18/2004 9:20:25 AM PDT by wardaddy (This is it. We either win and prevail or we lose and get tossed into that dustbin W mentioned!)
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To: blam
So the rapper Juvenile was simply referring to an animal his ancestors domesticated...

"Youse a fine m*th*rf**er, won't you back dat ass up!"

16 posted on 06/18/2004 9:21:45 AM PDT by Paradox (Occam was probably right.)
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To: SMARTY
OK call me stupid, what's the difference between a donkey and a burro...or is there a difference?

Donkey babies look like little donkeys, burro babies look like this:


17 posted on 06/18/2004 9:24:36 AM PDT by Paradox (Occam was probably right.)
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To: Jimmyclyde

I would have thought domestication would have occurred much earlier, wonder what happened 11,000 and 5,000 years ago.


18 posted on 06/18/2004 9:27:11 AM PDT by FastCoyote
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To: SMARTY
"....what's the difference between a donkey and a burro...or is there a difference?"

Burro is Spanish for donkey. It's from Latin and shares the basis for the word "burden".

19 posted on 06/18/2004 9:35:03 AM PDT by elbucko
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To: blam

What article on donkeys would be complete without this picture?

20 posted on 06/18/2004 9:46:57 AM PDT by KarlInOhio (Teach a Democrat to fish and he will curse you for not just giving him the fish.)
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To: cyborg
"The donkey is God's gift to the world and history."

Good for you! They certainly are, as are all the domesticated equines. From the donkeys that carry bundles of sticks for firewood on their backs, to the teams of horses that hauled large trees down from the forests to the sea to be made into great ships. We owe these animals the credit for having helped us find the New World as well as get to the moon. Mules transported the Wright Bros. flying machine from the railroad station to the sands of Kitty Hawk. These animals, in one way or another, have contributed greatly to human history, technology and exploration. We owe them a lot.

21 posted on 06/18/2004 9:50:24 AM PDT by elbucko ("Balaam's Donkey" ; Numbers, 22:21-22:33)
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To: blam

"The data clearly excludes the Asian "half-asses," Equus hemionus and Equus kiang, as possible ancestors of domesticated donkeys, says Steve Jordan of Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, US, a member of the team that analysed the relationships."



Hardworking team. They definitely didn't "half-ass" it.


22 posted on 06/18/2004 1:57:00 PM PDT by zimdog
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Note: this topic is from 6/18/2004. Thanks blam.

23 posted on 06/20/2015 12:48:42 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (What do we want? REGIME CHANGE! When do we want it? NOW)
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