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Title: The origin of cattle from Neolithic to early Bronze Age China
Author: Yu, Chong
ISNI:       0000 0004 5918 1213
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2015
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Cattle (Bos taurus) - the domesticated form of aurochs (Bos primigenius), was an important animal to humans since prehistoric times, not simply for food, but also provided hide, blood, dung and contributed greatly to the exploitation of dairy products, traction and the organization of human beliefs, cultural attitudes and social complexity. The early exploration of cattle pastoralism pointed to the region of Near East during the 11th and 10th millennia BP and spread southward and westward into neighboring regions soon after its establishment. Zooarchaeological data also provide substantial information on an increasing economic importance of cattle for both meat and milk production in these areas. As an independent locus of origin of food productions, Yangzi and Yellow River Basins of China were thought to be the birth place of many important crops and animals, including rice, millet, pigs and dogs. Wheat, barley, sheep, goats, and horses were introduced, already domesticated, from elsewhere. The possibilities of both indigenous domestication and introduction of cattle were raised; however, the precise circumstances of the earliest phases of cattle domestication remain mysterious due to the absence of convincing biometry approaches for the reconstruction of the original size and shape of the animals. This thesis provides the widest ranging review of Bos (including Bos primigenius, Bos taurus and Bos gaurus) material in China to date, bringing together Bos bone biometrical information from Early Neolithic to Early Bronze Age (10,000 to 3,600 BP), in order to gain a better understanding of the morphological variation of this animal in a biological point of view - the main indicator for tracing domestication (both locally and imported from elsewhere). This study demonstrates that, during Early Neolithic, aurochs were widely hunted base on the relatively large body size compared to the standard animal and later samples. The general size diminution of Bos in the studied region makes its first appearance in upper and middle Yellow River Valley no later than 5,500 BP. Small-sized domesticated cattle was intensively used in central China since 4,500 BP. Domesticated cattle was introduced to China from Near East through Middle Asia. The new custom of milk exploitation, wheat field soil preparation, and the increase demand of sacrificial use may be the pull factors of the expansion and the incorporation of cattle husbandry.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: European-Chinese Bioarchaeology Collaboration ; CO-REACH ; Groupement de Recherche Européen ; International Council for Archaeozoology Committee
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Cattle