The domestication of cattle refers to the process by which wild cattle species were selectively bred and managed by humans for various purposes. Ultimately leading to there development. And, to serve specific human needs. This process likely began around 10,000 to 8,000 years ago. It coincided with the advent of agriculture, settled societies and the neolithic age.
Key aspects of the domestication of cattle include:
Over generations. Cattle was selected with desirable traits. For example, docility, productivity, and adaptability to human-controlled environments.
Early humans domesticated cattle for various purposes. Including milk and meat production, as well as for their hides, bones, and labor.
Social and Economic Impact
Cattle became a form of wealth, and their ownership played a crucial role in social structures and economies.
Importance of cattle is reflected in various myths, folklore, and religious traditions around the world. From bride-wealth and trade, to rituals such as feasting and sacrifices as well.
According to archaeological and genetic evidence, wild cattle or aurochs (bos primigenius) were likely domesticated independently at least twice and perhaps
Becaue of the multitude of useful products. Cattle are among the earliest domesticised. They had food products: milk, fat, and meat; and, other products as well. Hair, hid, horns, hooves and bones. That could be used for clothing or tools. And, even dung for fuel. As well as, there general size for pulling plows and moving things. It must have been incredible.
Archaeologists and biologists have agreed two distinct domestication events from aurochs
B. taurus in the near east about 10,500 years ago; and, B. indicus in the Indus valley of the Indian subcontinent about 7,000 years ago. There may have been a third auroch domesticate in Africa (tentatively called B. africanus). 8,500 years ago.
Earliest evidence for cattle domestication anywhere in the world, is in PPN cultures. In the Taurus mountains
Bos taurus was likely domesticated in the northern fertile crescent zones. Some 10,500 years ago. Because of the high genetic diversity found there. As well as, there were temples, and signs of early civilization.
At Çayönü Tepesi a gradual decline in body size was noted
A characteristic of domestication, is seen at several sites in southeastern Turkey. Beginning as early as the late 9th millenium. In the southern sites. It is not noted until later. Time went on, and selective breeding continued. Taurine cattle was traded across the planet. Around 6400 BC, first to Europe. And, by 5000 BC northeastern Asia. In China, Mongolia, and Korea.
In the Indus valley transition of wild to domestic b. indicus occured
What is today Pakistan. In Harappan, and Neolithic times was Mehrgahr. Domestication here occured about 7,000 years ago.
Lactase persistence: without discomfort. Only about 35% of people in the world are able to digest milk sugars as adults
It is theorized that early neolithic populations did not have this trait. Those who domesticated sheep, goats and cattle. Probably begin processing milk to cheese, yogurt and butter. As lactase persistence increased (in adults). It became most directly associated with Linearbandkeramik populations beginning around 5000 BC.
Over time, the different breeds of domesticated cattle emerged. Each specially adapted to specific environmental conditions, and, thus human needs. These breeds often exhibited different variations in size, color, coat type, and other characteristics.
In the present day, domesticated cattle are found worldwide. They are raised for various purposes, including meat and dairy production, as well as for work, such as plowing fields or pulling carts. Dating back to the neolithic era. This process of cattle domestication has resulted in a wide variety of breeds. Each with its own set of characteristics and adaptations.
Check them out with some more neolithic architecture today!
Arbuckle BS, Price MD, Hongo H, and Öksüz B. 2016. Documenting the initial appearance of domestic cattle in the Eastern Fertile Crescent (northern Iraq and western Iran). Journal of Archaeological Science 72:1-9.
MacHugh DE, Larson G, and Orlando L. 2017. Taming the Past: Ancient DNA and the Study of Animal Domestication. Annual Review of Animal Biosciences 5(1):329-351
Teasdale MD, and Bradley DG. 2012. The Origins of Cattle. Bovine Genomics: Wiley-Blackwell. p 1-10