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The earliest evidence of cattle domestication dates from circa 8,500 BCE in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic cultures in the Taurus Mountains.The two oldest archaeological sites showing signs of cattle domestication are the villages of ayn Tepesi in southeastern Turkey and Dja'de el-Mughara in northern Iraq, two sites only 250 km away from each others.The history of R1b and R1a are intricately connected to each others.Like its northern counterpart (R1b-M269), R1b-V88 is associated with the domestication of cattle in northern Mesopotamia.Cattle herders probably maintained a nomadic or semi-nomadic existence, while other people in the Fertile Crescent (presumably represented by haplogroups E1b1b, G and T) settled down to cultivate the land or keep smaller domesticates.

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The third branch (P297), crossed the Caucasus into the vast Pontic-Caspian Steppe, which provided ideal grazing grounds for cattle.The three main branches of R1b1 (R1b1a, R1b1b, R1b1c) all seem to have stemmed from the Middle East.The southern branch, R1b1c (V88), is found mostly in the Levant and Africa.With the increase of the human population in the Fertile Crescent from the beginning of the Neolithic (starting 12,000 years ago), selective hunting and culling of herds started replacing indiscriminate killing of wild animals.The increased involvement of humans in the life of aurochs, wild boars and goats led to their progressive taming.

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