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Zooarchaeological and Genetic Evidence for the Origins of Domestic Cattle in Ancient China

Author(s): Peng Lyu ; Katherine Brunson ; Jing Yuan ; Zhipeng Li

Year: 2017

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This paper reviews current evidence for the origins of domestic cattle in China. We describe two possible scenarios: 1) domestic cattle were domesticated indigenously in East Asia from the wild aurochs (Bos primigenius), and 2) domestic cattle were domesticated elsewhere and then introduced to China. We conclude that the current zooarchaeological and genetic evidence does not support indigenous domestication within China, although it is possible that people experimented with managing wild aurochs in ways that did not lead to complete domestication. Most evidence indicates that domestic taurine cattle (Bos taurus) were introduced to China during the third millennium B.C., and were related to cattle populations first domesticated in the Near East. Zebu cattle (Bos indicus) entered China sometime between 2000-200 B.C., but much less is known about this species. The role of cattle as ritual and wealth animals seems to have been critical to their initial introduction.

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Zooarchaeological and Genetic Evidence for the Origins of Domestic Cattle in Ancient China. Peng Lyu, Katherine Brunson, Jing Yuan, Zhipeng Li. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 432044)


Spatial Coverage

min long: 66.885; min lat: -8.928 ; max long: 147.568; max lat: 54.059 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15740

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America