Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

Special Introductory Offer!

Early Cattle Domestication in China

Monday, November 11, 2013

China-Cow OriginsYORK, ENGLAND—A cow jawbone unearthed in northern China shows that cattle domestication may have begun there around 10,000 years ago, roughly the same time cows were first domesticated in the Near East. An international and multi-disciplinary team led by University of York biologist Michi Hofreiter found wear patterns on the jawbone's teeth that suggest human management of the animal, and a DNA study of the remains shows they belonged to a cow that was not related to domesticated cattle in the Near East or South Asia. Hofreiter calls the jawbone "unique and suggests that, similar to other species such as pigs and dogs, cattle domestication was probably also a complex process rather than a sudden event."