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Cattle May Have Been Domesticated in the Central Nile Valley

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

WROCŁAW, POLAND—Cattle may have been domesticated in the Letti Basin of what is now Sudan some 10,000 years ago, according to a Science in Poland report. It had been previously thought that cattle were first domesticated from the wild aurochs in Turkey and Iraq, and then arrived in East Africa in the fifth millennium B.C. But Piotr Osypiński of the Polish Academy of Sciences and Marta Osypiński of the University of Wrocław said that they have found the remains of domesticated cattle with “aurochs-like” features in the Letti Basin, along with the bones of other wild species. The researchers are waiting for precise dating results of samples to confirm the age of the bones. “That group of people already knew ceramic vessels, used quern-stones to grind cereal grains (wild varieties of millet), so they can be called early-Neolithic communities,” Marta Osypiński said. “They still hunted wild savannah animals, with one only exception—cattle at an early stage of domestication.” To read about efforts to recover the aurochs genome, go to "Raise a Toast to the Aurochs."

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