Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Longhorn Legacy: Surprising Origins of Columbus' Cattle Found

New world breeds, such as the Texas longhorn, derived from two separate lineages originating in Europe and India, new research suggests.

 

The first cows brought to the Americas by explorer Christopher Columbus originated from two extinct wild beasts from India and Europe, a new genetic analysis shows.

Because the breeds analyzed, including the longhorn, have been closely connected to humans, the results could shed light on human migration over the past 10,000 years, said study co-author Emily Jane McTavish, an evolutionary biology doctoral candidate at the University of Texas at Austin, whose mascot is the longhorn cow.

The findings were published today (March 25) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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