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Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Ancient Cattle DNA Analyzed

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Cattle domestication zebuDUBLIN, IRELAND—Gizmodo reports that an international team of scientists led by Marta Verdugo, then of Trinity College Dublin, sequenced the genomes of 67 wild aurochs and domesticated cattle, or Bos taurus, that lived in the Middle East and the Levant dating back up to 8,000 years ago. Analysis of the ancient genomes suggests aurochs DNA from different populations was periodically introduced into domestic herds over a period of several thousand years. The researchers also detected an influx of DNA from humped cattle known as Bos indicus, or zebu, some 4,000 years ago. Farmers may have introduced drought-tolerant zebu into their herds during a period of climate change across the greater Near East. For more, go to “Raise a Toast to the Aurochs.”

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