November 08, 2013

Early cattle management in NE China

From the paper:
The haplogroup retrieved has so far not been found in modern cattle. However, as mtDNA represents a single genetic locus, it is prone to genetic drift and could easily have been lost by drift even if hybridization between the population to which the Chinese specimen belonged and other domesticated cattle populations has occurred. Further analyses on nuclear DNA will be necessary to show whether this early Chinese cattle management was a short-lived episode or whether it has contributed to the nuclear gene pool of modern cattle.

Nature Communications 4, Article number: 2755 doi:10.1038/ncomms3755

Morphological and genetic evidence for early Holocene cattle management in northeastern China

Hucai Zhang et al.

The domestication of cattle is generally accepted to have taken place in two independent centres: around 10,500 years ago in the Near East, giving rise to modern taurine cattle, and two millennia later in southern Asia, giving rise to zebu cattle. Here we provide firmly dated morphological and genetic evidence for early Holocene management of taurine cattle in northeastern China. We describe conjoining mandibles from this region that show evidence of oral stereotypy, dated to the early Holocene by two independent 14C dates. Using Illumina high-throughput sequencing coupled with DNA hybridization capture, we characterize 15,406 bp of the mitogenome with on average 16.7-fold coverage. Phylogenetic analyses reveal a hitherto unknown mitochondrial haplogroup that falls outside the known taurine diversity. Our data suggest that the first attempts to manage cattle in northern China predate the introduction of domestic cattle that gave rise to the current stock by several thousand years.

Link

5 comments:

Annie Mouse said...

Evidence of cultural connection between the near east and China 11 kya! I wonder what disrupted it? A war? Expansion out of SE asia?

Anyhow this is waaaay before the Chinese neolithic.

terryt said...

"Further analyses on nuclear DNA will be necessary to show whether this early Chinese cattle management was a short-lived episode or whether it has contributed to the nuclear gene pool of modern cattle".

Remeber that the wagyu breed from Japan seems to have significant differences from both zebu and taurine cattle. Perhaps we're seeing here the remote ancestor of wagyu. One of my brothers used to breed them:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wagyu

Grey said...

"Evidence of cultural connection between the near east and China 11 kya! I wonder what disrupted it? A war? Expansion out of SE asia?

Anyhow this is waaaay before the Chinese neolithic."

Two different expansion routes to the same region with the second one being slower but more numerous?

(Which to me would imply the earlier / faster route may have been more the more northerly one?)

terryt said...

"I wonder what disrupted it?"

Climate change. In the form of increased aridity.

"Anyhow this is waaaay before the Chinese neolithic".

Maybe not especially. Remember this post from Dienekes:

http://dienekes.blogspot.co.nz/2011/10/china-began-cultivating-millet-10000.html

And even this list has the earliest Chinese neolithic at 9500 years ago:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Neolithic_cultures_of_China

And this has its beginning even earlier:

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/cneo/hd_cneo.htm

"The Neolithic period, which began in China around 10,000 B.C. and concluded with the introduction of metallurgy about 8,000 years later, was characterized by the development of settled communities that relied primarily on farming and domesticated animals rather than hunting and gathering".

Lathdrinor said...

Mmm, why do I think this is just another one of those over sensationalist discoveries that won't ultimately change what we know? The teeth wear, which the researchers state is oral stereotypy, doesn't look solidly connected to domestication. For example, it's been described in various captive wild animals - not just domestic ones, and further are we even sure that this is stereotypy and not the result of life-time behaviors and diet?

I haven't had an opportunity to carefully read the article. Does it give other evidence for the specimen being domesticated other than the teeth wear? It's easy to see how individual hunter-gatherers managed to wild cattle and kept them alive for a rainy/snowy day. But doesn't domestication involve a long process of selective breeding and genetic change? How does this paper show that?