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Oldest directly dated remains of sheep in china


The origins of domesticated sheep (Ovis sp.) in China remain unknown. Previous workers have speculated that sheep may have been present in China up to 7000 years ago, however many claims are based on associations with archaeological material rather than independent dates on sheep material. Here we present 7 radiocarbon dates on sheep bone from Inner Mongolia, Ningxia and Shaanxi provinces. DNA analysis on one of the bones confirms it is Ovis sp. The oldest ages are about 4700 to 4400 BCE and are thus the oldest objectively dated Ovis material in eastern Asia. The graphitisised bone collagen had delta(13)C values indicating some millet was represented in the diet. This probably indicates sheep were in a domestic setting where millet was grown. The younger samples had delta(13)C values indicating that even more millet was in the diet, and this was likely related to changes in foddering practices.

Type Journal
ISBN 2045-2322 (Electronic) 2045-2322 (Linking)
Authors Dodson, J. ; Dodson, E. ; Banati, R. ; Li, X. ; Atahan, P. ; Hu, S. ; Middleton, R. J. ; Zhou, X. ; Nan, S.;
Publisher Name Scientific Reports
Published Date 2014-01-01
Published Volume 4
Published Pages 7170
Status Published in-print
URL link to publisher's version
OpenAccess link to author's accepted manuscript version