(ORDO NEWS) — During a new study, archaeologists have discovered the first hybrid animal that appeared as early as 4,500 years ago. It was bred with the help of a Syrian kulan and a donkey. The ancient animal was called kunga.
On the territory of Mesopotamia, for about 4500 years, local residents used kungs to move around on special four-wheeled combat carts. These animals also belonged to the horse family, but they began to be used much earlier.
Archaeologists have suggested that the kungs, who were repeatedly depicted in art, and also buried in fairly rich tombs, could be hybrids. But even today, scientists do not have enough evidence to support this idea.
The latest study, during which ancient DNA was studied, found out that the animal was bred as a result of crossing between a female donkey, as well as a male Syrian kulan.
Kunga is considered the very first example of a hybrid that was created by man with the help of two completely different species.
Evamaria Gale of the University of Paris believes kung breeding was a demonstration of early bioengineering. It is worth noting that kungs were barren just like mules.
They differed from other animals in their disobedience, as well as aggressiveness. They had a high cost, so only a few could buy them.
Very often kungs were used during battles or for special military ceremonies. Until that time, the mule was considered to be the oldest hybrid bred by man. His remains were found in Turkey. The bones are approximately 3,000 years old.
Experts conducted DNA sequencing from a variety of sources. The remains of 44 kungs, which were buried in a rich tomb in Syria, played a huge role. With the help of teeth, it was possible to find out that the animals were kept on a specially designed diet.
To compare the hybrid with other species, and also as evidence that kungs appeared as a result of crossing, experts used their DNA.
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