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Genetic study proves African cattle came from the Middle East

Map showing the range of the cow and allies.
Map showing the range of the cow and allies.Lguipontes This file is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication by the copyright holder.

A new study of the genetic history of cattle across the world conducted by an international team of 19 researchers led by Professor Jared E. Decker from the University of Missouri has determined that African cattle originated in the Middle East according to their report in the March 27, 2014, issue of the journal Public Library of Science Genetics.

Anthropologists previously claimed that ancient Africans domesticated cattle native to the African continent nearly 10,000 years ago but the new genetic history of 134 cattle breeds from around the world indicates that cattle from modern day Iraq, Jordan, Syria and Israel that are known to have been domesticated prior to any known domestication of cattle in Africa are the original African cattle source.

The original African cattle either migrated south with people or were traded to Africans. The cattle were bred with wild aurochs in Africa. This genetic alteration led to the belief that cattle domestication and breeding originated in Africa.

This is the most complete genetic history of cattle breeding completed to date. The domestication and breeding of cattle parallel the migration of people across Europe, Asia, Africa, and to the Americas. The researchers expect the study to be useful to historians, geneticists, and cattle breeders.