Pigs force rethink on human history

Posted on April 26, 2008 

Pigs force rethink on human history

The largest ever study into the ancestry of the humble domestic pig has unearthed a new evolutionary theory behind one of our most common farmyard animals.

Scientists from the University of Oxford’s Henry Wellcome Ancient Biomolecules Centre and the University of Durham have traced DNA from wild boar and domestic pigs revealing five brand new regions of domestication and a fascinating insight into early farming practices.

The study, funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Arts and Humanities Research Board, is published in today’s edition of Science magazine (11 March) and reports that, in addition to new centres of domestication, and contrary to popular belief, European domestic pigs derive from wild boar native to Europe and not from wild boar indigenous to the Near East.

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