Monday, 17 January 2022

Ancient 'Kungas' explained

Mesopotamians were using hybrids of domesticated donkeys and wild asses to pull their war wagons 4,500 years ago — at least 500 years before horses were bred for the purpose. Analysis of ancient DNA from animal bones unearthed in northern Syria resolves a long-standing question of just what "kungas", described in ancient sources as pulling war wagons, were. The new study shows that kungas were strong, fast and sterile hybrids of a female domestic donkey and a male Syrian wild ass.
Ancient records say kungas were highly prized and very expensive. This can be explained by the difficult process of breeding them. A male wild ass had to be captured, and that was a difficult task because wild asses could run faster than donkeys and kungas. They were also impossible to tame. Kungas were the earliest hybrids ever produced by humans.