Photo of a goat hoofprint impressions in brick from a Neolithic site of Ganj Dareh, western Iran.
Based on a new study, ancient hunters and farmers living in the foothills and valleys of western Iran’s verdant highlands may have been among the first people to domesticate livestock. The study sequenced DNA from goat bone samples which date to about 8200 B.C.E. and compared the sequences with modern goat genomes.
The results suggest that initial goat herds in Iran’s Zagros Mountains were genetically distinct from hunted wild goats and may represent the earliest known examples of goat herding.
Similar genetic studies have shown that the sheep and goats found on Mediterranean islands are descendents of Near Eastern caprines.
The Central Zagros Archaeological Project