A History of the Animal World in the Ancient Near East by Billie Jean Collins

By Billie Jean Collins

This identify matters man's touch with the animal international: sacrifice, sacred animals, nutrition, and domestication. Chapters on paintings, literature, faith and animal husbandry show an image of the complicated relationships among the peoples of the traditional close to East and (their) animals.

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Example text

Within the limits of publication space, the scope of the bibliography has been widened to encompass adjacent regions that sometimes contribute exotic species to the Near Eastern periphery, and it also contains works on several arcane creatures that might be of interest to historians and archaeologists pursuing more esoteric inquiries. MAMMALS The most familiar animals of the ancient Near East are the domesticated mammals, upon which a large part of the economy depended for food, raw materials, service, and the storage of wealth.

Pelage is mottled and variable, but coloration is generally brownish-gray in the more humid biomes, and more yellowish-gray around the desert fringes. Today's wolves prefer open areas, hunting mostly small wildlife at night either singly, in pairs, or in small packs, but occasionally scavenging in human middens or attacking livestock. One intriguing observation made of some Near Eastern wolves is their disinclination to howl, a practice perhaps explained by the steep pressure gradients and strong winds of the desert 1.

Natufian dogs may, therefore, have been commensal wolves whose increasing dependence upon life with humans led inadvertently to anatomical adjustments brought about by a more sedentary routine. Several other canids inhabit the Near East. Golden jackals (Canis aureus] are occasionally misidentified as wolves, however, the jackal's coat is tawnier and coarser in texture than that of the wolf. Jackals also pursue a more omnivorous diet, which can include fruits, insects, snails, and fishes, as well as opportunistic hunting of small mammals and scavenging of large carcasses.

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