Let’s give donkeys their dignity: Their contribution to humanity is greater than we thought

Research has shown how much humanity has benefited from donkeys as it adapts to new conditions and advances on the path of civilization.

Photo: Pexels/Emmy Lou

Although we often use their names to insult or ridicule someone, it turns out that donkeys have a greater place in human history than previously thought.

To better understand the place of donkeys in human history, 49 scientists sequenced the genetic codes of 31 early and 207 modern donkeys from around the world.

The BBC details the research. compiled.

Archaeologists examined the remains of huge donkeys, genetically belonging to African donkeys, in a French village east of Paris.

Using genetic modeling, he observed the population change of donkeys over time and revealed that they were first domesticated by East African herders about 7,000 years ago.

Photo: Donkeywise

They dispersed around the world from Sudan and Egypt

Analysis showed that all modern-day donkeys descended from this first domestication.

It turns out that the first domestications in East Africa coincided with the dryness of the once green Sahara. About 8,200 years ago, when the seasonal winds weakened in the region, the precipitation in the region decreased and the Sahara started to get dry.

According to scientists, domesticated donkeys, which can carry heavy loads in difficult terrains, played a large part in adapting humans to these new harsh conditions.

Findings showed that donkeys domesticated in East Africa dispersed first to Sudan and Egypt (6500 BC), and over the next 2500 years to Europe and Asia, where modern donkey lineages developed.

Thanks to donkeys, people started to carry heavy loads on land. Before donkeys, the Euphrates and Tigris rivers in Mesopotamia or the Nile river in Egypt were used to carry heavy loads.

According to archaeologist Laerke Rech, donkeys greatly increased our contacts on land. Recht says this coincides with 3000 BC, when the use of bronze increased: “Thanks to their heavy load carrying capacity, donkeys were able to transport heavy copper to areas that would not be found in nature.

They also changed the fate of wars

Years later, the donkeys, which took part in the wars and carried supplies to the armies by pulling the wheeled vehicles, even changed the course of the wars.

Rech emphasizes that donkeys were valuable enough to take part in important rituals in Egypt and Mesopotamia:They were important enough to be buried with normal humans or even kings when they died. Sometimes we even come across donkeys buried alone. We know that donkeys were sacrificed ritually while important agreements were signed in 2000 BC.

Although donkeys have served humanity more, today they do not receive as much attention as a horse or a dog. However, millions of people still use donkeys for transportation in developed regions of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.

Compiled by abbreviation: Emre Zor