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Goat busters track domestication.

People began to domesticate do·mes·ti·cate  
tr.v. do·mes·ti·cat·ed, do·mes·ti·cat·ing, do·mes·ti·cates
1. To cause to feel comfortable at home; make domestic.

2. To adopt or make fit for domestic use or life.

 wild goats at least 10,000 years ago in the Zagros Mountains Zag·ros Mountains  

A range of western Iran forming the western and southern borders of the central Iranian plateau and rising to 4,550.6 m (14,920 ft).
 of western Iran, according to a new study. It indicates that at that time, villagers in the area experimented with ways of controlling herds. These early domesticators primarily slaughtered male goats that had not reached their reproductive prime, leaving mature males to breed with a herd's adult females, say the researchers.

Goats in these early managed herds probably looked much like wild goats, both physically and genetically, say Melinda A. Zeder of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History For the museum in Manhattan, see .

This article is about the museum in Washington, D.C.. For other uses, see National Museum of Natural History (disambiguation).

The National Museum of Natural History
 in Washington, D.C., and Brian Hesse of the University of Alabama at Birmingham UAB began in 1936 as the Birmingham Extension Center of the University of Alabama. Because of the rapid growth of the Birmingham area, it was decided that an extension program for students who had difficulties which prevented them from studying in Tuscaloosa was needed. . Over time, isolation of managed herds and the introduction of selective breeding produced changes in domesticated do·mes·ti·cate  
tr.v. do·mes·ti·cat·ed, do·mes·ti·cat·ing, do·mes·ti·cates
1. To cause to feel comfortable at home; make domestic.

2. To adopt or make fit for domestic use or life.

 goats, the two anthropologists propose.

Some researchers have argued that declines in overall body size of goat skeletons unearthed Unearthed is the name of a Triple J project to find and "dig up" (hence the name) hidden talent in regional Australia.

Unearthed has had three incarnations - they first visited each region of Australia where Triple J had a transmitter - 41 regions in all.
 at two ancient village sites in the Zagros Mountains reflect early domestication domestication

Process of hereditary reorganization of wild animals and plants into forms more accommodating to the interests of people. In its strictest sense, it refers to the initial stage of human mastery of wild animals and plants.
. However, goats from these sites, Ganj Dareh and Ali Kosh, fall within the size range of a sample of modern wild-goat skeletons, Zeder found in a preliminary study.

The Ganj Dareh and Ali Kosh samples contain a large proportion of bones from young males, the scientists report in the March 24 SCIENCE. Previous investigators at the sites had excluded these bones--which had not developed fully but still were larger than comparable bones of fully grown females--from body-size estimates for adult goats. Because more females than males reached maturity, these calculations mistakenly portrayed the villagers' animals as much smaller than wild goats, Zeder and Hesse assert.

Evidence that people had primarily killed young male goats came as no surprise to Hesse. He had previously theorized that early herders mainly killed young males for meat and kept most females and a few older males as breeding stock. In contrast, hunters interested in a quicker return on their effort often targeted the largest males in a herd or killed many animals at once, Hesse had proposed.

The researchers determined that Ganj Dareh was inhabited about 10,000 years ago, for a span of no more than 100 to 200 years. Settlement of Ali Kosh occurred 500 to 1,000 years later and lasted about 500 years. Radiocarbon ra·di·o·car·bon  
A radioactive isotope of carbon, especially carbon 14.


a radioactive isotope of carbon, esp.
 analyses generated age estimates from tiny fragments of bone and charred seeds found in a range of soil layers at both sites.

Emergence of a warmer, wetter climate in western Asia 15,000 years ago instigated a spread of grasslands and a resurgence of animals such as sheep, goats, and pigs, Zeder holds. Soon, people there took the first steps toward domestication by searching for ways to manage animal herds, in her view.
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Title Annotation:physiologic changes and evolution of goats into a domesticated animal
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Apr 8, 2000
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