Monday 3 October 2005
The extinct aurochs (Bos primigenius primigenius) was a large type of cattle that ranged over almost the whole Eurasian continent. The aurochs is the wild progenitor of modern cattle, but it is unclear whether European aurochs contributed to this process.
All pre-Neolithic aurochs belonged to the previously designated P haplogroup, indicating that this represents the Late Glacial Central European signature.
It has been reported one new and highly divergent haplotype in a Neolithic aurochs sample from Germany, which points to greater variability during the Pleistocene.
Furthermore, the Neolithic and Bronze Age samples that were classified with confidence as European aurochs using morphological criteria all carry P haplotype mitochondrial DNA, suggesting continuity of Late Glacial and Early Holocene aurochs populations in Europe.
Most ancient and modern European domestic cattle carry haplotypes previously designated T. This, in combination with our new finding of a T haplotype in a very Early Neolithic site in Syria, lends persuasive support to a scenario whereby gracile Near Eastern domestic populations, carrying predominantly T haplotypes, replaced P haplotype-carrying robust autochthonous aurochs populations in Europe, from the Early Neolithic onward.
During the period of coexistence, it appears that domestic cattle were kept separate from wild aurochs and introgression was extremely rare.
Edwards CJ, Bollongino R, Scheu A, Chamberlain A, Tresset A, Vigne JD, Baird JF, Larson G, Ho SY, Heupink TH, Shapiro B, Freeman AR, Thomas MG, Arbogast RM, Arndt B, Bartosiewicz L, Benecke N, Budja M, Chaix L, Choyke AM, Coqueugniot E, Dohle HJ, Goldner H, Hartz S, Helmer D, Herzig B, Hongo H, Mashkour M, Ozdogan M, Pucher E, Roth G, Schade-Lindig S, Schmolcke U, Schulting RJ, Stephan E, Uerpmann HP, Voros I, Voytek B, Bradley DG, Burger J. Mitochondrial DNA analysis shows a Near Eastern Neolithic origin for domestic cattle and no indication of domestication of European aurochs. Proc Biol Sci. 2007 Jun 7;274(1616):1377-85. PMID: 17412685
Zeder MA, Emshwiller E, Smith BD, Bradley DG. Documenting domestication: the intersection of genetics and archaeology.
Trends Genet. 2006 Mar;22(3):139-55. PMID: 16458995
Les débuts de l’élevage : Les origines de la culture. de Jean-Denis Vigne. Le Pommier (14 octobre 2004). Collection : Le collège de la cité. ISBN : 2746502011