African Archaeological Review

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 119–144 | Cite as

An African origin for African cattle? — some archaeological evidence

  • Caroline Grigson

Abstract

Instead of the usual assumption that the Sanga cattle of Africa arose from the crossing of taurine cattle (Bos taurus) from North Africa or the Middle East with humped cattle (Bos indicus) originating in the Indian sub-continent, it is argued that they are of ancient autochthonous origin and have come to be mixed with taurine and humped cattle probably only in the last few hundred years, which is why they share a mosaic of characters with the other two taxa. Much more work needs to be done on the osteology of Sangas and of cattle remains from archaeological sites in Africa, but if this model proves to be correct African cattle should be regarded as a taxon of equal status toBos taurus andBos indicus.

Résumé

Au lieu de l'hypothèse habituelle selon laquelle le bétail Sanga africain provient du croisement du bétail taurin (Box taurus) d'Afrque du Nord ou du Moyen Orient avec le bétail à bosse (Bos indicus) dont l'origine est le sous-continent indien, nous pensons que ce bétail a une origine autochtone ancienne et que les croisements avec les bétails taurins et à bossus n'ont probablement eu lieu que durant les quelques dernières centaines d'années, ce qui explique pourquoi ils partagent une mosaïque de caractères avec les deux autres taxa. De nombreuses recherches restent à faire sur l'ostéologie des Sanga ainsi que sur les restes de bétail des sites archéologiques africains, mais si ce modèle s'avère correct, le bétail africain devra être regardé comme un taxon équivalent à celui deBos taurus etBos indicus.

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  • Caroline Grigson

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