Ajita K. Patel and Richard H. Meadow
In South Asia, the earliest development of plant and animal husbandry and the first manifestation of urbanism occurred in the northwestern part of the subcontinent from the eighth through the third millennium cal bc. Archaeological excavations and zooarchaeological analyses have provided evidence for change through time in animal–human relations in that region, where wild forms of goat, sheep, zebu cattle, and water buffalo are or were native. Reviews of the faunal evidence for these animals show that the processes of domestication and development of pastoralism varied between taxa and in each case were complex. Genetic investigations of modern relatives, domestic and wild, have yielded insights into their entangled roots resulting from a (pre)history of human interaction with animals and their movement across the landscape. Our current understandings are compelling, but limited by lacunae in the archaeological records of the region and by the lack of successful analyses of ancient DNA.