Monday, October 16, 2006

Travels With Goats

More on the dissemination of goats from the Near East. This focuses on a cave in France, but goats also disseminated south into Egypt, and the study is therefore of potential interest to anyone studying prehistoric Egypt: "Goats are a lot like people, in one way at least. They are genetically diverse, with variations that bear little relationship to continental boundaries. This characteristic, revealed in a study in 2001, suggests that like humans, goats spread through the world, their various populations mixing quite easily. Of course, goats didn’t travel on their own. They were taken along by settlers. But scientists weren’t sure when all this traveling, and genetic mixing, began. Goats were domesticated in the Near East about 10,500 years ago. . . .Now Dr. Taberlet, Helena Fern├índez and colleagues have shown that the mixing began very early. In a new study published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they found evidence of strong genetic diversity by analyzing DNA from 7,000-year-old goat bones found in a cave at Baume d’Oullen in southern France."
See the above pages for the full story.

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