Archaeologist: Cattle first kept in Sahara

Jul 24, 2006

An archaeologist who has spent decades studying sites in the Sahara says nomads who roamed the area millennia ago were the first to domesticate cattle.

At the time, what is now desert was a vast savannah with a humid climate, Dr. Stefan Kropelin of the University of Cologne told the BBC. When the climate changed and the area became one of the driest places on Earth, its inhabitants moved into the Nile Valley.

"They brought all their know-how to the rest of the continent -- the domestication of cattle was invented in the Sahara in the humid phase and was then slowly pushed over the rest of Africa," he said. "This Neolithic way of life, which still is a way of life in a sense; preservation of food for the dry season and many other such cultural elements, was introduced to central and southern Africa from the Sahara."

The dry conditions in the Sahara, which have also left it almost empty of people and any other form of life, have had one ironic result -- its archaeological sites are exceptionally well-preserved.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Dinosaur-times cockroach caught in amber, from Myanmar

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Dinosaur-times cockroach caught in amber, from Myanmar

May 01, 2015

Geologica Carpathica has a paper on a new family of predatory cockroaches. Predatory? The authors, Peter Vrsansky and Günter Bechly, from the Slovak Republic and Germany, respectively, said that "unique adapta ...

Documentary on T-rex discovery leads to pardon request

Apr 30, 2015

Pete Larson has discovered thousands of fossils around the world, co-authored three books and led the team that unearthed the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex ever found. But there's one black ...

Unique fish fossils identified

Apr 30, 2015

A team of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich has identified the first fossil specimens of a major group of killifishes that is widely distributed in freshwater habitats today. The 6-million-year-old ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.