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date: 25 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

African pastoralism is distinctive from that of Southwest Asia, focusing on dairy production with cattle, sheep, and goats. The latter were domesticated in Southwest Asia and introduced, but debate continues on whether indigenous African aurochs contributed genes to African domestic cattle. Pastoralism emerged in what was then a grassy Sahara and shifted south with the mid-Holocene aridification. Zooarchaeology and genetics show the donkey is a mid-Holocene African domesticate, emerging as an aid to pastoral mobility during increasing aridity. Pastoralism is the earliest form of domesticate-based food production in sub-Saharan Africa, with farming emerging millennia later. Human genetics and lipid analysis of Saharan ceramics shows an early reliance on dairying. With the emergence of pastoralism, new economies and social relations emerged that were carried by pastoralists across the whole of Africa.

Keywords: zooarchaeology, Africa, pastoralism, domestication, genetics, dairying, economy

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