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date: 14 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the ancient history of livestock domestication and breeding. It discusses the documentation of the domestication of the four major Near Eastern livestock species including cattle, sheep, goats, and swine, and their dispersal along the Mediterranean littoral. It cites the result of a study indicating that ancient breeders competed to refine certain physical characteristics such as tight wool or powerful shoulders and devoted considerable labour and resources to cultivating unique subspecies of livestock. This chapter argues that animal characteristics and behaviour started to play a dominant role in shaping human expectations and human culture by their physical needs and care requirements when humans decided to manage the breeding of animals.

Keywords: livestock domestication, livestock breeding, Near East, Mediterranean littoral, cattle, sheep, goats, human culture, breeding of animals

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