Skip to comments.Donkey Domestication Began In Africa
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.
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)
Donkey domestication did not occur in the Clinton, Kerry, or Kennedy houselholds...!
"wild African asses"
Nah, too easy.
You're Lyin' Your Ass Off!!
The donkey is God's gift to the world and history.
Isnt JFnK married to one of those?
Now if we could just domesticate the party that has a jackass for their logo, the country would be in much better shape.
You're referring to a "NAG".
A horse, especially:
An old or worn-out horse.
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!
or as Rush has defined them...NAG...National Association of Gals...formerly NOW.
Burro's have mustaches and like hot sauce on their oats.
I'm an African-American!
(folks always call me an ass)
"Youse a fine m*th*rf**er, won't you back dat ass up!"
Donkey babies look like little donkeys, burro babies look like this:
I would have thought domestication would have occurred much earlier, wonder what happened 11,000 and 5,000 years ago.
Burro is Spanish for donkey. It's from Latin and shares the basis for the word "burden".
What article on donkeys would be complete without this picture?