A History of the Animal World in the Ancient Near East by Billie Jean Collins

By Billie Jean Collins

This identify matters man's touch with the animal global: sacrifice, sacred animals, vitamin, and domestication. Chapters on paintings, literature, faith and animal husbandry demonstrate an image of the advanced relationships among the peoples of the traditional close to East and (their) animals.

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Additional resources for A History of the Animal World in the Ancient Near East (Handbook of Oriental Studies Handbuch der Orientalistik)

Sample text

Open terrain provides advance warning of predators, and the evolution of long legs (in the sheep of western Eurasia) affords the speed necessary to escape danger. The Near East is presently home to medium-sized forms, or mouflons, that range from Europe to western Iran, as well as larger varieties, termed urials, that occupy the Caspian region, Central Asia, northeastern Iran, and Pakistan. Mouflons bear the same chromosome number (2n = 54) as modern domestic sheep (0. dries), while urials differ (2n = 58).

Data from the present, therefore, do not necessarily give an accurate picture of ancient conditions. Ecological requirements of wild species can provide clues about their potential range in former times, but dispersal 8 ALLAN S. GILBERT patterns must be confirmed using harder evidence. While ancient written sources and artistic representations frequently provide valuable details about the physical appearance of animals, the uses to which they were put by humans, and sometimes their zoogeographic spread, the most reliable information comes from skeletal debris buried within the layers of archaeological sites.

The tarpan is effectively extinct, as the final specimen expired in the Ukraine in 1918. Forest and steppe varieties existed, but the close resemblance of the modern Polish konik pony to the forest form implies some genetic continuity into present-day domestic stock. Tarpans were stocky, short- 1. THE NATIVE FAUNA 17 headed, and, like all wild equids, they carried an erect black mane. Pelage was mousy gray in color (tan or yellowish in some steppe populations), and in the north, it whitened markedly during winter with the growth of a woolly undercoat that molted in spring.

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