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Oldest livestock genome reveals modern goat origin | Science



In the earliest stages of raising The handled goat looks like a natural mammal, the bezoar (pictured).

Kenneth W. Fink / Science Source

by Michael Price

The ancient hunters and farmers who inhabited the foothills and valleys of the verdant highlands of western Iran were probably among the first. Now, the new study includes the oldest livestock genome still sequenced. supported the idea It appears to have gathered genetic and archaeological evidence of the transition between wild-hunted goats and their domesticated offspring.

education has caught “‘Ground Zero’ for goat farming or nearby,” says David MacHugh, an animal geneticist at University College Dublin, and because the birth of livestock has helped pave the way for large populations and complex societies. One of the most important moments in prehistoric times.”

Since 1950, archaeologists have discovered ancient cattle bones near Iran’s Zagros Mountains. Located at the eastern tip of the Fertile Crescent, the region is considered the birthplace of many early agriculture and civilizations. Approximately 10,000 years ago—showing signs of rearing, such as smaller bodies and shorter horns. Evidence of early raising of pigs and sheep was also found in the region.

Researchers analyzed bones such as this leg bone and ancient goat DNA unearthed at two sites in western Iran.

Central Sagros Project

Much of the area’s archaeological research has been halted by the Iranian Revolution in the late 1970s and the Iran-Iraq War that began in the 1980s. “The region has been falling into a dark abyss for some time,” said Melinda Zeder. Honorary Archeology at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History “Now we’ve seen a resurgence in interest in all sorts of parenting issues. where goats are the main factor.”

To learn about the early animal husbandry process, Zeder and others, including several Iranian archaeologists, analyzed goat bones excavated in the 1960s and 70s from two sites in the Zagros Mountains, Ganj Dareh and Tepe Abdul Hosein. People lived, hunted, and cultivated crops in these fertile valleys from about 8200 to 7600 BCE. The ancestors of today’s domestic goats (Aegagrus male goat) bezoars (c. aegagrus) is their main victim.

Patterns of male and female goats remain at these sites as the first clues that people tend to manage herds, not just hunting. “Hunters and herdsmen target different types of animals,” explains Ceder. “The hunters are looking for So they quickly go to the big adults.” Herdsmen don’t care about the size of each person. Rather than focusing on keeping the females alive to maintain and grow the herd, she said, as a result, herdsmen tend to screen out most young males and rear many older females.

That is exactly the pattern the researchers saw at Ganj Dareh and Tepe Abdul Hosein: relatively few men and many older women. The mud-brick hoof marks at Kanjdareh strengthened the case people here dealt with goats. Because wild goats may not roam around the village. Surprisingly, these sheep-like goats actually look like wild bezoars. with a large body and horns So researchers turned to ancient DNA.

When comparing the DNA of ancient goats with those of modern wild goats from the region, The scientists found that there were different genetic groups, indicating that the apparently handled goats were bred with each other. reported today in Proceedings of the National Academy of SciencesThis confirms that herdsmen kept the goat population largely separate from the region’s wild goats, Zeder said. The oldest goats are still around 8,200 BC, making the DNA in this study genomic. The oldest cattle still in order

Within these early manipulated goats, the researchers identified six primary mitochondrial haplotypes, or sets of genes that are inherited along the female line. which is present in goat populations in modern countries. The findings suggest that today’s goats are descendants of goats that lived 10,000 years ago, Zeder said. Researchers have also identified a genetic variant known as STIM1-RRM1 known to other pets to help reduce anxiety and promote learning

As a result, Zeder said, these ancient goats seemed to represent a pivotal moment in herds in which people were managing the herd. But haven’t chosen the physical traits you know at the petting zoo.

“This is an interesting study,” said Cheryl Makarewicz, an archaeologist at Kiel University who was not involved in the work. The findings suggest that early cattle herders modify management strategies before they are successful in raising their animals, she added. “There have been many trials going on.”


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