Skip to comments.How Wild Asses Became Donkeys Of The Pharaohs
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
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 ...
I read “wild asses” and “donkeys” in the headline, and thought it was about the dems. Maybe Spitzer. BWAHAHAHAHAHA
Oh boy, here we go.
“Wild asses” is just plain old low hanging fruit. :)
Wild asses were first harnessed by Pharaohs Ben Dover I and Phil Makraken II.
This could explain the close relationship between the descendents of the Israelites and the democrat party. Both were exploited by the Egyptians! :o
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
These adaptations are much more likely due to selective breeding for compactness and load-carrying ability. Evolution doesn't work all that fast.
Uh, no. More likely due to selective breeding for the donkeys that don’t run away.
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.
I thought it was how they changed from wild animals to voting democrats.
Bread!...Apples!...Very small rocks...
Does this mean the Liberal Democrats... are today's Pharaohs as they certainly have the market covered on Wild Asses!
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