African Archaeological Review

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 83–95 | Cite as

Donkey Domestication

  • Birgitta Kimura
  • Fiona Marshall
  • Albano Beja-Pereira
  • Connie Mulligan
Review Article

Abstract

Donkeys are one of the least studied large domestic animals, even though they are economically important in many regions of the world. They are predominantly used as transport animals. Consequently, they are not kept in large numbers and this limits the number of archaeological specimens available for study. The donkey’s closest relative is the African wild ass, and genetic studies and zooarchaeological analyses of early donkeys indicate domestication of two genetically separate groups of wild asses in Africa. Maternal relationships revealed by mitochondrial DNA show that one group of donkeys was derived from the Nubian wild ass and that one was derived from an unknown ancestor distinct from the Somali wild ass.

Keywords

Donkey domestication Ancient DNA Somali wild ass Nubian wild ass 

Résumé

Les ânes sont l’un des animaux domestiques grands moins étudiés bien qu’ils soient très importants économiquement dans plusieurs regions du monde. Les ânes sont usés principalement comme des animaux du transport. Par conséquence ils ne sont pas maintenus en grand nombre et donc il y a une limitation des nombres des specimens qu’on peut étudier de manière archéologique. Le parent le plus proche est l’âne sauvage d’Afrique. Des études génétiques et zooarchéologiques indiquent la domestication des deux groupes génétiquement distincts des ânes sauvages d’Afrique. Les relations maternelles indiqués par l’ADN mitochondrial démontrent qu’un groupe dérivent des ânes de Nubie et que l’autre groupe dérivent des ânes inconnus qui sont différents de l’âne sauvage de Somalie.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Birgitta Kimura
    • 1
  • Fiona Marshall
    • 2
  • Albano Beja-Pereira
    • 3
  • Connie Mulligan
    • 4
  1. 1.Biotechnology Program, Perry Center for Emerging TechnologiesSanta Fe CollegeAlachuaUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyWashington UniversitySt. LouisUSA
  3. 3.Centro de Investigacao em Biodiversidade e Recursos Geneticos (CIBIO-UP)Universidade do Porto, Campus Agrario de VairaoPortoPortugal
  4. 4.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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