A RAW excerpt, meaning, I ain’t softened it up with humor and laymen’s explanations yet. I think you’ll still love what I’m talking about here though.
Black People Invented Animal Domestication
Eugenics is the science of using selective breeding to produce a desired population (or to eliminate an undesirable one). It was adopted by Hitler during the Nazi era, and by a few other like minds in recent decades. Before them, many Europeans were really into this stuff, and it supposedly goes back to the ancient Spartans, who would breed their strongest warriors and kill off any babies who seemed weak.
But it really goes back much further than that. In fact, the traditional idea that humans only recently learned about how to selective mate plants or animals is all wrong. In fact, we’ve known this stuff for as long as we’ve known about sex! We used these mating methods to create the world’s first genetically modified organisms, like the carrot. Between ten and five thousand years ago, some of us saw a need in the local population for increased Vitamin A, minus the bitter taste of the carrot’s wild ancestor, and we bred them until woila, we got what we wanted! Of course, once Europeans got a hold of them, they kept breeding them until only one kind dominated – the orange kind we’re familiar with now. Before that, we had much more variety – carrots were purple, white, black, and red, but never orange. And we were doing stuff like this at least 70,000 years ago. In fact, that’s where dogs came from! We made them!
Most anthropologists agree that humans domesticated dogs from wild wolves. They just can’t agree on exactly how it was done or when. While some scientists argue that it happened somewhat naturally about 30,000 years ago, there’s now strong evidence to suggest that the “creation” of dogs took place at least 74,000 years ago and was very calculated and deliberate. You can read all about this in When the World Was Black, Part One.
The “Australoid” (meaning they looked more like Australian aborigines and South Asians) people who domesticated the dog bred many ancient dog breeds, including the dingo of Australia, the New Guinea Singing Dog. They also appear to have domesticated another wild breed in East Asia, once they arrived there.[i] These people appear to have carried the bottle gourd (Lagenaria siceraria), which is indigenous to Africa. Bottle gourds reached East Asia by 11,000 BC. By 10,000 BC, the Australoid people were bringing bottle gourds and dogs with them into the Americas. As D.L. Erickson writes:
We suggest that the bottle gourd and the dog, two “utility” species, were domesticated long before any food crops or livestock species, and that both were brought to the Americas by Paleoindian populations as they colonized the New World.[ii]
Why did we make dogs? We bred them as a tool to make our lives easier. In the August 2010 issue of the journal Current Anthropology, paleoanthropologist Pat Shipman explains:
As living tools, different domestic animals offer immense renewable resources for tasks such as tracking game, destroying rodents, protecting kin and goods, providing wool for warmth, moving humans and goods over long distances, and providing milk to human infants.[iii]
I don’t know about that milk part. Seems nasty. Definitely not something Black folks would do. But otherwise, it makes sense. Shipman goes on to suggests that the primary impetus for animal domestication, such as with dogs, was to transform animals we had been observing intently for millennia into living tools during their peak years, then only later – if necessary – using their meat as food. But if the necessity of the “tool” was strong enough, the wise among us would institute a taboo against the eating of the needed animal.
Speaking of taboo, you know what else we bred? Pigs. Remember that Afrasiatic group that built Stonehenge in Ireland? Well, the migration that brought them there was the same migration that brought agriculture into Europe during the Neolithic. To be clear, this wasn’t the first time Blacks populated Europe, because you’ll remember that Blacks had alread spread into Europe in time to whup the Neanderthalls and produce those fantastic cave paintings about thirty thousand years ago. Even before that, another band of Blacks had come into Europe as Homo _. But the group identified with the Afro-Asiatic language group appears to have spread through all of Europe around the same time farming methods spread through Europe (6,800-4,000 BC). What does this tell us? Black people brought agriculture to Europe. And along with farming techniques, they also brought another invention of theirs – a walking, breathing garbage disposal, commonly known as the pig.
An international research project examined DNA in the jawbones or teeth of modern and 7,000-year-old pigs. The genetic investigation provides fresh insight into the immigration of ancient peoples and ideas. The scientists tell the journal PNAS that the incoming farmers brought more than just ideas – they brought examples of domesticated livestock. Agriculture is thought to have begun about 12,000 years ago, in the central and western parts of the Middle East, (known as the Ancient Near East to archaeologists). Between 6,800-4,000 BC, farming methods spread across Europe, but the question of how these methods spread has not been fully established. The two competing theories are that farming spread through cultural exchange, possibly during trading or that people migrated to Europe bringing their expertise with them. While some scientists had thought that Europeans had bred the pig on their own (separately from the domestication that happened in the Near East),[iv] it now appears that these Black migrants brought ALL the knowledge with them – farming, animal domestication, and, of course, construction and home-building (as we noted earlier in the section about Stonhenge). But apparently, the garbage accumulating in ancient Europe had prepared European wild boars for the task, perhaps to a greater extent than their Near Eastern cousins. According to Dr. Greger Larson, who performed the genetic analysis:
The domestic pigs that were derived from the European wild boar must have been considered vastly superior to those originally from the Middle East, though at this point we have no idea why. In fact, the European domestic pigs were so successful that over the next several thousand years, they spread across the continent and even back into the Middle East where they overtook the indigenous domestic pigs.[v]
This means the voracious garbage-eating pigs of Europe either won out because they were more aggressive or because Europeans bred their favored pigs to eliminate all others, as they did with the carrot. What we know for sure is that these European pigs were so ravenous (and nearly indestructible) that, when the Spaniards brought them to the Americas, they destroyed Indian crops, devastated local wildlife, and bred so quickly that they nearly took over entire regions.
Speaking of Native Americans, genetic evidence points to at least two occurrences of turkey domestication in pre-Columbian North America, specifically in the American southwest. According to study author, Camilla F. Speller, this evidence “illuminates…the complexity and sophistication of ancient husbandry and breeding practices for one of the New World’s few domesticated animals.”[vi] Considering how minimally Native Americans interfered with other animal species, could it be possible that another population introduced the practice? Elsewhere in the book, we document the genetic and linguistic evidence suggesting Afrasiatic people were in the pre-Columbian American southwest.
Picture an African wildcat. We turned that into a housecat. Yes, we turned that snarling beast you pictured into Mr. Whiskers. The African wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica) is a wildcat subspecies that occurs across northern Africa and extends across the Arabian Peninsula to the Caspian Sea. This is the region that was dominated by the Afro-Asiatic people when African wildcats were domesticated about 10,000 years. Remains of domesticated cats have been included in human burials as far back as 9,500 years ago in Cyprus.[vii]
Later, Egyptian civilization domesticated cats and held them in high regard. Cats were buried with their owners as early as 3700 BC, and wore collars as early as the 5th dynasty (circa 2500-2350 BC). The reverence for cats, some of whom were mummified with humans, may have stemmed from religious traditions, but could also have had something to do with the fact that cats were domesticated at the same time – and in the same places – as the early domestication of grains like wheat and barley. After all, cats were to thank for the protection of the much-needed grain, given their role as hunter of grain-eating rodents.[viii] Everything for a purpose!
It has long been thought that the domestication of horses goes back about 5,000 years to central Asia. New evidence, however, suggests that horses were domesticated in the Arabian Peninsula for the first time more than nine thousand years ago.[ix] This practice must have been carried northward much later, where it became essential to the warriors who guarded the steppes of the Caucasus and other mountain ranges from about 4,000 BC forward.
We even made donkeys, the stubborn, yet hard-working animals that are found carrying loads throughout the world today. It appears Black people in pre-dynastic Egypt domesticated donkeys from the wild ass, Equus africanus as early as 4500 BC.[x] Equus africanus is indigenous to Africa and is found throughout East Africa, from Nubia to Kenya, suggesting that southern Egyptians were the first to turn an ass to a worker.[xi]
Domesticated cattle are found everywhere from ancient Africa to India to China. There’s still some debate about whether pastoralism (or animal husbandry) began in the Near East or Northern Africa. After all, some of the common domesticates, like the sheep and goat, are not native to Africa. They came in from the Near East.
But not so with the indigenous cattle of Africa. Recent genetic studies have confirmed that the earliest domestication of cattle occurred in Northeast Africa around 11,000 years ago and spread westward and southward from there.[xii] This happened at Nabta Playa, most likely among people who spoke either Nilo-Saharan or the earliest Afro-Asiatic languages.[xiii] Comparably old evidence is also found in Algeria.[xiv] These people could have spoken Nilo-Saharan languages, but its quite possible that the people who introduced animal husbandry to Africa were part of the first wave of Afrasiatic expansion into western Africa.
They domesticated African Bos cattle, which you may remember from The Science of Self, Volume One. The domesticated breeds were transported to the Near East, and then bred with the native Aurochs bulls in Europe to produce the familiar breeds of domesticated cattle we know today.[xv] Around 3,000 years later, Afro-Asiatic speakers brought domesticated sheep and goat back into Africa from the Near East.
Nearly all of this work, with the exception of the Aurignacian domestication of the dog, was done by Anu people. In fact, there are separate domestication events for the pig, dog, cat, horse, and cow because Afrasiatic people introduced (and taught) this science wherever they went. Sometimes they domesticated local wild breeds rather than spreading an imported domesticate, yet the most consistent thing wasn’t how they it was done, but who was doing it.
Drusilla Dunjee Houston says it well in her 1926 Wonderful Ethiopians of the Ancient Cushite Empire:
Some one civilized race of prehistoric times had tamed the domestic animals; for when the curtain of history was raised we find them in attendance upon man. With the same infinite patience, this race developed wild plants into tamed fruits and cereals. The Cushite was the only race that could have performed this service, for the other races in historic times despised agriculture. Nomadic races are fierce and impatient, they have a nature the opposite to habits that make for patient and perseverence, which are the steps to art and literature. Before the dawn of history Cushites were working in metals and they had perfected the tools with which we conquer the forces of nature today. Our masons tools are identical with those unearthed in Egypt. Joly calls the three significant factors of progress in the life of man: the hearth, the altar and the forge. All three of these were given to the world by the African. The ancients said that Ethiopians first taught them the worship of the gods and sacrifice. The agricultural Ethiopian developed the idea of a settled hearth and home. He developed very early the art of smelting iron, which is found in the pyramids and gave knowledge of its manufacture to the world.
Donnelly points out that in the thousands of years since the domestication of animals, the historic nations of our times have tamed one bird. In the light of these facts, is it helpful to our development, that we blazen forth the boast that from later races has come the sum total of civilization? Ancient Africans yoked the wild ox, tamed the cow, the horse and sheep. This is why animals play such an important part in the old Cushite mythology. Africans subdued the elephant as early as the Cushites of Asia. Ancient sculptures show the African lion tamed. These indefatigable men domesticated wheat, barley, oats, rye and rice, in fact all the staple plants of our civilization were fully developed so far back in the distant ages, that their wild species have disappeared.
Think how helpless we would be today without them. Reclus declares, “We are indebted to the African for sorghum, dates, kaffir, coffee and the banana, also for the dog, cat, pig, ferret, ass and perhaps for the goat, sheep and ox. The first African explorers found the country covered with cattle parks, in which the natives kept thousands and tens of thousands of cattle of remarkable breeds, rare skill being shown in their handling.[xvi]
I respect my elders. There’s no need for me to follow that up. Sister Drusilla Dunjee Houston, writing almost a hundred years before me, said it all. I’m just reintroducing it to yall!
[i] Savolainen, Peter; Ya-ping Zhang, Jing Luo, Joakim Lundeberg, and Thomas Leitner (Nov 11 2002). “Genetic Evidence for an East Asian Origin of Domestic Dogs”. Science 298 (5598): 1610–1613.
[ii] D. L. Erickson. (2005). An Asian origin for a 10,000-year-old domesticated plant in the Americas. PNAS. www.pnas.org/content/102/51/18315.full
[iii] Kevin Stacey. (2010). “New Hypothesis for Human Evolution and Human Nature,” Penn State Science. www.science.psu.edu/news-and-events/2010-news/Shipman7-2010
[iv] Pigs Domesticated ‘Many Times.’ (2005). BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4337435.stm
[v] Liz Seward. (2007). “Pig DNA Reveals Farming History,” BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6978203.stm
[vi] Camilla F. Speller et al. “Ancient mitochondrial DNA analysis reveals complexity of indigenous North American turkey domestication” PNAS, vol. 107 no. 7 2807-2812
[vii] Driscoll CA et al. (2007). The Near Eastern Origin of Cat Domestication. ScienceExpress: 1-6.
[viii] Linseele V, Van Neer W, and Hendrickx S. (2007). Evidence for early cat taming in Egypt. Journal of Archaeological Science 34(12):2081-2090.
[ix] “Horse Domesticate 9,000 years Ago in Saudi Arabia,” (Aug 2011). Discovery News. http://news.discovery.com/animals/horse-domestication-saudi-arabia-110825.html
[x] Beja-Pereira, et al. (2004). “African Origins of the Domestic Donkey,” Science 304, no. 5678:1781, DOI:10.1126/science.1096008
[xi] Roger Blench, “The History and Spread of Donkeys in Africa.” www.animaltraction.net/donkeys/donkeys-blench-history.pdf
[xii] Hanotte O, et al. (2002) African pastoralism: Genetic imprints of origins and migrations. Science 296:336–339.
[xiii] Wendorf F, Schild R. (1998). Nabta Playa and its role in northeastern African prehistory. J Anthropol Archaeol 17:97–123.
[xiv] Brass, M. (2007). Reconsidering the emergence of social complexity in early Saharan pastoral societies, 5000-2500 BC. Sahara 18: 1-16
[xv] Götherström, Anders, et al. (2005). Cattle domestication in the Near East was followed by hybridization with aurochs bulls in Europe. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 272(1579):2345-2350.
[xvi] Drusilla Dunjee Houston. (1926).