Monday, October 10, 2022

on the origins of donkeys

A recent paper on genomes of ancient donkeys made a good excuse to heap some praise on this much-maligned beast of burden, which has, in fact, served us longer than the current lineages of domesticated horses. It was intriguing to learn that in Ancient Mesopotamia, hybrids of donkeys and wild asses served in prestigious roles and were included in royal burials - until horses came along.

All this is in my latest feature which is out now:

A brief history of donkeys

Current Biology Volume 32, Issue 19, 10 October 2022, Pages R985-R987

Restricted access to full text and PDF download
(will become open access one year after publication)

Magic link for free access
(first seven weeks only)

See also my twitter thread with all this year's CB features.

An equid burial within the royal burial complex of Umm el-Marra likely contains the highly valued kunga known from ancient texts. Sequencing has now identified one of the animals as a first-generation hybrid of donkey and hemippe. (Photo: Glenn M. Schwartz.)

1 comment:

Gareth Thomas said...

I saw your post on the #asstodon hashtag and I'm really interested in reading this, though the science maybe over my head. I am particularly interested in the history and culture of our human-equusasinus connection. Happy Feast of the Ass (14 January).

Gareth Thomas