A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

Special Introductory Offer!

Genes Suggest African Cattle Were Domesticated in the Middle East

Friday, March 28, 2014


COLUMBIA, MISSOURI—It had been thought that native cattle were domesticated in Africa some 10,000 years ago, but a genetic study of 134 cattle breeds led by Jared Decker of the University of Missouri suggests that Africa’s domesticated cattle originated in the Fertile Crescent, or the area of Iraq, Jordan, Syria, and Israel. When early farmers from the Fertile Crescent migrated south, their cattle interbred with Africa’s wild cattle, or aurochs. “By better understanding the history of the animals we domesticate, we can better understand ourselves,” Decker told Red Orbit.