Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA,  ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE (oxfordre.com/environmentalscience) (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2020. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 29 October 2020

Early History of Animal Domestication in Southwest Asialocked

  • Benjamin S. ArbuckleBenjamin S. ArbuckleUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Summary

The domestication of livestock animals has long been recognized as one of the most important and influential events in human prehistory and has been the subject of scholarly inquiry for centuries. Modern understandings of this important transition place it within the context of the origins of food production in the so-called Neolithic Revolution, where it is particularly well documented in southwest Asia. Here, a combination of archaeofaunal, isotopic, and DNA evidence suggests that sheep, goat, cattle, and pigs were first domesticated over a period of several millennia within sedentary communities practicing intensive cultivation beginning at the Pleistocene–Holocene transition. Resulting from more than a century of data collection, our understanding of the chronological and geographic features of the transition from hunting to herding indicate that the 9th millennium bce and the region of the northern Levant played crucial roles in livestock domestication. However, many questions remain concerning the nature of the earliest predomestic animal management strategies, the role of multiple regional traditions of animal management in the emergence of livestock, and the motivations behind the slow spread of integrated livestock husbandry systems, including all four domestic livestock species that become widespread throughout southwest Asia only at the end of the Neolithic period.

Subjects

  • Environmental History
  • Agriculture and Farming
  • Environmental Economics

You do not currently have access to this article

Login

Please login to access the full content.

Subscribe

Access to the full content requires a subscription