The people of Mesopotamia used the first hybrid of domesticated and wild donkeys to pull their chariots.

The people of Mesopotamia used the first hybrid of domesticated and wild donkeys to pull their chariots.  Since all conga were sterile, like many hybrids such as mules, they had to be produced by mating a domesticated female donkey with a male wild donkey that had to be captured.  A new study reveals that Mesopotamians were using hybrids of domesticated and wild donkeys to pull their chariots 4,500 years ago, at least 500 years before horses were bred for this purpose.  The scientists pointed out that this discovery solves one of the most puzzles that baffled history scholars about the nature of the animals that pulled heavy war chariots in that very ancient era, in which man did not tame horses.  The analysis of ancient DNA from animal bones discovered in northern Syria led to an answer to this ancient question about the type of animals described in ancient sources as pulling war chariots and heavy military equipment.  "From the skeletons, we knew they were equine [horse-like animals], but they weren't," study co-author Eva-Maria Geigl, a genomics scientist at the Jacques Monod Institute in Paris, said in a report to Live Science. They fit the measurements of domesticated donkeys and did not fit the measurements of Syrian wild donkeys," she added, "so they were somewhat different, but the difference was not clear."  The new study In the new study, published in the journal Science Advances on January 7, researchers compared the genome taken from the bones of the last Syrian wild donkey from Vienna with the genome taken from the bones of an 11,000-year-old wild donkey, discovered in The archaeological site of Göbekli Tepe, Turkey.  The kunga bones used in the study came from a princely burial complex in Tell Umm al-Murra in northern Syria, dating back to the early Bronze Age between 3000 BC and 2000 BC. The site is believed to be the ruins of the ancient city of Tuba mentioned in Egyptian inscriptions.  War painting from Sumerian mosaic showing conga bands pulling 4-wheeled chariots (Thierry Grange-University of Paris) Study co-author Gail Weber, an archaeologist at the University of Pennsylvania, excavated the bones about 10 years ago.  Weber said the animals from Umm al-Murra hill were conga, because their teeth had marks from cutting belts and wear patterns that showed they had been intentionally fed, rather than being left to graze like regular donkeys.  This comparison showed that both animals were the same species, Geigl said, but the ancient wild ass was much larger. She said this indicates that the Syrian wild ass species has become much smaller in recent times than in ancient times, possibly due to environmental pressures such as hunting.  Conga animal It is known that the mule is a perennial and sterile herbivorous mammal, and the donkey is also a domesticated animal of the genus to which the horse belongs; It is similar to it, but it is closer to the mule, a strong patient animal used for riding, traction and carrying weights, and lives wild in the deserts of Asia and Africa and its prairies, its origins go back to the African wild ass, and it was domesticated in the fourth millennium BC in Mesopotamia, and the Syrian wild ass is the origin of the donkey. The endangered Onager.  Recent discoveries in Umm al-Murra hill in northern Syria have indicated that the hybrid between the Syrian wild ass and the Ungar, produced the Konga animal, which was known since the Sumerian civilization as the royal animal, for its great value and distinctive characteristics, and it became extinct with the domestication of the horse and the emergence of the mule as a substitute for strong hybrid animals .  The conga is mentioned in several ancient texts in cuneiform writing on clay tablets in Mesopotamia, and is depicted pulling four-wheeled chariots on the Standard of Ur, a Sumerian mosaic dating back to around 4500 General Now on display at the British Museum in London.  Biological hybrid cars Historians believe that the Sumerians were the first to breed conga before 2500 BC, at least 500 years before the appearance of the first domesticated horses from the steppes north of the Caucasus Mountains, according to a previous study conducted in 2020 in the journal "Science Advances" by several participating researchers. In the last study.  Ancient records show that the successor states of the Sumerians, such as the Assyrians, continued to breed and sell conga for centuries. A stone tablet carved from the Assyrian capital of Nineveh, now in the British Museum, shows two men driving a wild donkey they owned.  According to Geigl, ancient records indicate that conga are very valuable and expensive animals, which can be explained by their rather difficult breeding process.  "They really biologically engineered these hybrids," Geigl added. "There were the oldest hybrids out there, as far as we know, and they had to do that every time for every conga that was produced, which explains why they're so valuable."  She added, "Because all the conga were sterile, like many hybrids such as mules, they had to be produced by mating a domesticated female donkey with a male wild donkey who had to be captured. This was a particularly difficult task because wild donkeys from impossible to tame."  Some experts believe that Syrian wild donkeys were too young, smaller than domesticated donkeys, to be bred for conga production. Geigl said archaeologists suspected it was a type of hybrid, but did not know which mare it was crossed with.  The species is now extinct, and the last Syrian wild donkey - no more than a meter high - died in 1927 in the oldest zoo in the world, in Vienna, Austria, and its remains are now preserved in the Natural History Museum of that city.  The conga could run faster than horses, so their use to pull chariots may have persisted after the introduction of domesticated horses into Mesopotamia, but eventually, the latter conga died, probably because domesticated horses were easier to breed.

The people of Mesopotamia used the first hybrid of domesticated and wild donkeys to pull their chariots.


Since all conga were sterile, like many hybrids such as mules, they had to be produced by mating a domesticated female donkey with a male wild donkey that had to be captured.

A new study reveals that Mesopotamians were using hybrids of domesticated and wild donkeys to pull their chariots 4,500 years ago, at least 500 years before horses were bred for this purpose.

The scientists pointed out that this discovery solves one of the most puzzles that baffled history scholars about the nature of the animals that pulled heavy war chariots in that very ancient era, in which man did not tame horses.

The analysis of ancient DNA from animal bones discovered in northern Syria led to an answer to this ancient question about the type of animals described in ancient sources as pulling war chariots and heavy military equipment.

"From the skeletons, we knew they were equine [horse-like animals], but they weren't," study co-author Eva-Maria Geigl, a genomics scientist at the Jacques Monod Institute in Paris, said in a report to Live Science. They fit the measurements of domesticated donkeys and did not fit the measurements of Syrian wild donkeys," she added, "so they were somewhat different, but the difference was not clear."

The new study
In the new study, published in the journal Science Advances on January 7, researchers compared the genome taken from the bones of the last Syrian wild donkey from Vienna with the genome taken from the bones of an 11,000-year-old wild donkey, discovered in The archaeological site of Göbekli Tepe, Turkey.

The kunga bones used in the study came from a princely burial complex in Tell Umm al-Murra in northern Syria, dating back to the early Bronze Age between 3000 BC and 2000 BC. The site is believed to be the ruins of the ancient city of Tuba mentioned in Egyptian inscriptions.

War painting from Sumerian mosaic showing conga bands pulling 4-wheeled chariots (Thierry Grange-University of Paris)
Study co-author Gail Weber, an archaeologist at the University of Pennsylvania, excavated the bones about 10 years ago.

Weber said the animals from Umm al-Murra hill were conga, because their teeth had marks from cutting belts and wear patterns that showed they had been intentionally fed, rather than being left to graze like regular donkeys.

This comparison showed that both animals were the same species, Geigl said, but the ancient wild ass was much larger. She said this indicates that the Syrian wild ass species has become much smaller in recent times than in ancient times, possibly due to environmental pressures such as hunting.

Conga animal
It is known that the mule is a perennial and sterile herbivorous mammal, and the donkey is also a domesticated animal of the genus to which the horse belongs; It is similar to it, but it is closer to the mule, a strong patient animal used for riding, traction and carrying weights, and lives wild in the deserts of Asia and Africa and its prairies, its origins go back to the African wild ass, and it was domesticated in the fourth millennium BC in Mesopotamia, and the Syrian wild ass is the origin of the donkey. The endangered Onager.

Recent discoveries in Umm al-Murra hill in northern Syria have indicated that the hybrid between the Syrian wild ass and the Ungar, produced the Konga animal, which was known since the Sumerian civilization as the royal animal, for its great value and distinctive characteristics, and it became extinct with the domestication of the horse and the emergence of the mule as a substitute for strong hybrid animals .

The conga is mentioned in several ancient texts in cuneiform writing on clay tablets in Mesopotamia, and is depicted pulling four-wheeled chariots on the Standard of Ur, a Sumerian mosaic dating back to around 4500 General Now on display at the British Museum in London.

Biological hybrid cars
Historians believe that the Sumerians were the first to breed conga before 2500 BC, at least 500 years before the appearance of the first domesticated horses from the steppes north of the Caucasus Mountains, according to a previous study conducted in 2020 in the journal "Science Advances" by several participating researchers. In the last study.

Ancient records show that the successor states of the Sumerians, such as the Assyrians, continued to breed and sell conga for centuries. A stone tablet carved from the Assyrian capital of Nineveh, now in the British Museum, shows two men driving a wild donkey they owned.

According to Geigl, ancient records indicate that conga are very valuable and expensive animals, which can be explained by their rather difficult breeding process.

"They really biologically engineered these hybrids," Geigl added. "There were the oldest hybrids out there, as far as we know, and they had to do that every time for every conga that was produced, which explains why they're so valuable."

She added, "Because all the conga were sterile, like many hybrids such as mules, they had to be produced by mating a domesticated female donkey with a male wild donkey who had to be captured. This was a particularly difficult task because wild donkeys from impossible to tame."

Some experts believe that Syrian wild donkeys were too young, smaller than domesticated donkeys, to be bred for conga production. Geigl said archaeologists suspected it was a type of hybrid, but did not know which mare it was crossed with.

The species is now extinct, and the last Syrian wild donkey - no more than a meter high - died in 1927 in the oldest zoo in the world, in Vienna, Austria, and its remains are now preserved in the Natural History Museum of that city.

The conga could run faster than horses, so their use to pull chariots may have persisted after the introduction of domesticated horses into Mesopotamia, but eventually, the latter conga died, probably because domesticated horses were easier to breed.
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