happened several times independently. But a genetic family tree drawn up for domesticated and wild varieties of einkorn wheat shows that the domesticated varieties all cluster on one branch, indicating a single domestication. The same is true for barley.158
Archaeologists have not so far found any single site where they can trace the progression from the wild form of a cereal to its domesticated versions. But genetics has provided an unexpected helping hand in the case of einkorn wheat. Francesco Salamini, of the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne, Germany, with colleagues in Norway and Italy, analyzed nearly 1,400 strains of wild einkorn wheat from the Near East. Those with a genetic structure closest to the domesticated strains came from the Karacadag mountains of southeastern Turkey. The region is close to sites in northern Syria, like Abu Hureyra, where domesticated einkorn is known to have been grown some 8,500 years ago. The researchers conclude that "the Karacadag mountains are very probably the site of einkorn domestication," a claim disputed by some but endorsed by Daniel Zohary, a leading expert on plant domestication.159 Einkorn was apparently the first wild cereal to have been domesticated. It was cultivated some 12,500 years ago and the first possible domesticated forms occurred 10,500 years ago; domesticated einkorn becomes abundant in the western half of the Fertile Crescent (from southeastern Turkey down the east Mediterranean coast) from 9,500 years ago. Domesticated emmer wheat, which is easier to harvest, is found at Abu Hureyra from
10,400 years ago. (Einkorn wheat mostly ceased to be planted in the Bronze Age; emmer is still grown in Ethiopia. Modern wheats stem from an accidental cross between a domesticated variety of emmer wheat and a wild grass known as Aegilops squarrosa or tauschii. The hybridization is thought to have occurred in the region of northern Iran some 7,000 years ago.) Rye and barley were two other wild cereals domesticated before 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent.160
After the dog, the first animals to have been domesticated were sheep and goats, probably between 10,000 and 9,500 years ago. Cattle were domesticated from the aurochs at about the same time, and the pig from wild boar. The aurochs ranged widely across Europe as well as the Near East, but a comparison of British aurochsen (based on mitochondrial DNA extracted from fossil bones) with modern cattle shows that Europe's cattle too were domesticated in the Near East.^^ It may be that these animal species, like the wild cereals, were domesticated unconsciously, in a process that started with wild herds being penned and the tamer animals picked as parents of the next generation. This assumes that people of 10,000 years ago were not aiming at domestication because they had no idea it could be achieved. On the other hand, they had the dog as an example, and a growing number of instances of their own success. The horse appears to have been domesticated much later and outside the Near East, probably on the Eurasian steppes. Wild and domesticated horse bones are hard to tell apart, but horse remains with possible bit wear on the teeth occur in archaeological sites of the Ukraine and Kazakhstan, starting from 6,000 years ago. Unlike other animal species so far studied, which appear to have been domesticated only once or twice, horses seem to have been domesticated on many separate
1 (occasions, according to a study based on mitochondrial DNA._
Possibly it was the technology for capturing, taming and rearing wild horses that spread from one society to another, rather than a strain of domesticated animals. If so, this would suggest that horses were of such high value, perhaps for military purposes, that people rushed to domesticate their own rather than waiting to acquire a breeding pair.360
The people of the Near East, having developed suites of domesticated plant and animal species, expanded their farming activities north and west into Europe. Archaeologists have generally assumed that these farmers could support more people and that their populations must have crowded out the original inhabitants of Europe who had entered as foragers during Upper Paleolithic times. But the founder analysis undertaken by Richards, as mentioned in the previous chapter, shows that only a small percentage of today's Europeans are descended from those who entered from the Near East in Neolithic times. Presumably a few farmers from the Near East entered Europe, and perhaps the original inhabitants started to imitate their success, by settling down and adopting the new technology. Or the new farming groups, if composed largely of men in search of new land, may simply have captured women from the indigenous groups. The farmers' Neolithic genes would have become more diluted, generation by generation, as they and their new culture
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