Sunday 25 October 2020

Zebu migrations

Ceremonial "buckle"? from Bactria, end of the 3rd mill. BC. Does it depict an Indian Zebu (top) and a Eurasian Auroch (bottom)? Or is this Zebu on both sides?

Geneticists from Trinity college in Dublin, sequenced 67 ancient genomes from both wild and domestic cattle sampled from across eight millennia...

Sequencing Near Eastern wild cattle, or aurochs, allowed the team to unravel the domestication process of this most formidable of beasts...

Genetic similarity to the early domestic cattle of Anatolia concurs with a primary origin in that region. However different local wild populations also made significant additional genetic contributions to herds in Southeast Europe and southern Levant...

These earliest domestic cattle are Bos Taurus. 

They had no ancestry from Bos Indicus, or zebu – herds that originate separately further to the east in the Indus Valley...And which we find depicted all over Indus Valley Civilisation pottery. 

I wrote about the use of Zebu as solar calendar marker in Indus Valley Civilisation in my post "Kharif and Rabi season".

By the way, Indus Valley people knew about aurochs too. They are the so called "unicorns" 🙂depicted on the Indus Valley Civilisation seals, like this one

Anyway, during the early 3rd millennium BC we see depictions of the zebu cattle on Jiroft culture artefacts, meaning that by then zebu has already reached Iran, possibly Iraq.

I talked about the use of of Zebu as solar calendar marker in in Jiroft culture in my post "Khafajeh vase"

A dramatic change occurred around 4,000 years ago when we detect a widespread, wholesale influx of zebu genetics from the east...Probably linked to a dramatic multi-century climate event that was experienced across the world, referred to as the 4.2 kya climate event. This event caused terrible flooding in some places and terrible droughts in others. It is now believed that it is the drought caused by this event that may also have initiated the collapse of the Indus Valley Civilisation...

Now cattle don't migrate by themselves. Which means that if huge number of zebus suddenly appeared in Mesopotamia and Anatolia, they were driven there by their owners...

Where did this huge westward migration start? In Indus valley? Or in Iranian river valleys, like Halil river valley, home of the Jiroft culture which suddenly ended around that time?

We can see from the Trinity college study the effect of this migration on the cattle genetics in Western Asia, Europe, North Africa. 

What was the effect of this migration on human genetics in these areas???

Trinity college paper: "Ancient cattle genomics, origins, and rapid turnover in the Fertile Crescent"

5/8/2022. Today I came across this very interesting paper about the spread of Zebu from India westward and how it correlates with the spread of Indian male genes westward too..

"The spread of zebu cattle from South Asia to the East Mediterranean region as a marker of Indo-European population dispersal"

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