Archaeologists concur that modern domestic cattle descended from wild aurochs in the Middle East. But recent DNA analysis showed that many aurochs were actually included in the first domesticated herd. And like other studies of plant and animal origins, these results show that cattle history matches best with biblical history.
Ruth Bollongino and her team at Germany’s University of Mainz, whose study appears in Molecular Biology and Evolution, examined mitochondrial DNA from 15 ancient cattle bones found in Iran. The researchers compared ancient DNA sequences with those of modern domestic cattle. Their results indicated that “around 80 female aurochs were initially domesticated.”1
Such a low number suggests that domestication was not random, nor was it spread across a wide region. Instead, it was “a more complex and challenging process,” according to the study authors.1
A separate study of Russian foxes showed that when breeding pairs were artificially selected for docile temperament, complete domestication occurred in six generations.2 But this involved capturing wild foxes, retaining them in cages, and breeding them with organized intent….
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