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Thread: The Evolution of Sheep

  1. #1 The Evolution of Sheep 
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    This may seem like a silly thing to be interested in, but I'd really like to have a detailed overview of the evolution of sheep. The answer to questions like, "What were sheep like when the first anatomically modern humans encountered them?" and "When did sheep diverge from goats?" are especially interesting to me. Anyone know of resources I can use to study this?


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  3. #2  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    Domestic sheep are descended more directly from wild sheep from the Middle East, not goats. Although, sheep and goats do share a common ancestor somewhere back along the evolution of bovids. If you look into bovid evolution you should probably find some cladistic charts that will show when goats and sheep diverged.

    As to the question of what sheep were like before they were domesticated, luckily wild sheep are still around: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mouflon

    Edit: I haven't been able to find anything on the date of divergence, just relative degrees of difference.

    http://www.ultimateungulate.com/Ceta.../Caprinae.html
    http://www.springerlink.com/content/...0/fulltext.pdf

    I'm sure there are dates out there somewhere if you look hard enough.

    Genus Ovis = sheep
    Genus Capra = goats


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  4. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    Domestic sheep are descended more directly from wild sheep from the Middle East, not goats. Although, sheep and goats do share a common ancestor somewhere back along the evolution of bovids. If you look into bovid evolution you should probably find some cladistic charts that will show when goats and sheep diverged.

    As to the question of what sheep were like before they were domesticated, luckily wild sheep are still around: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mouflon

    Edit: I haven't been able to find anything on the date of divergence, just relative degrees of difference.

    http://www.ultimateungulate.com/Ceta.../Caprinae.html
    http://www.springerlink.com/content/...0/fulltext.pdf

    I'm sure there are dates out there somewhere if you look hard enough.

    Genus Ovis = sheep
    Genus Capra = goats
    Hey, thanks for this! So those mouflon would have been the first sheep people would have known?
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by delsydebothom
    Hey, thanks for this! So those mouflon would have been the first sheep people would have known?
    Or at least something very close to it, according to wiki sheep were domesticated 10,000 years ago so the animal could have changed some in that time.
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