Revealed where and when donkeys were domesticated

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Revealed where and when donkeys were domesticated

Scientists from around the world join forces to understand the history of donkeys

Researchers from the Toulouse Center for Anthropobiology and Genomics in France and scientists from 37 institutions around the world have created the most complete gene map to date to better understand the process of donkey domestication.

As a result, it was determined that donkeys were first domesticated 7,000 years ago in East Africa.

In the study published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Science, the genetics of 207 donkeys living today on 7 continents were sequenced. The researchers also used genetic data from 31 early donkeys and 15 wild donkeys using fossils from the period when donkeys first appeared.

After analyzing the data, it was revealed that donkeys were first domesticated in Africa in 5000 BC, when the Sahara became the desert region it is today.

It was also found that 2,500 years after they were domesticated, the animals left Africa and traveled to Europe and Asia, where they evolved into the lineages that still exist today.

“We identified the Somali Peninsula and Kenya as the region home to the closest relatives of the first domesticated donkeys,” said Ludovic Orlando, a French geneticist and co-author of the study.

Orlando, who works at Université Paul Sabatier, continued:

Their ancestors may have lived in another nearby region. Therefore, this finding does not mean that these two regions are the exact location of the donkey’s homeland.

Researchers believe that the first appearance of domestic donkeys as beasts of burden may have been in Sudan, Egypt or Somalia.

However, further archaeological research is needed to determine a more precise starting point.


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