Early dispersal of neolithic domesticated sheep into the heart of central Asia

Along the Tian Shan and Alay mountain ranges of Central Asia, sheep and other domestic livestock form the core economy of contemporary life. Although it was here that the movements of their ancient predecessors helped to shape the great trade networks of the Silk Road, domestic animals were thought to have come relatively late to the region. A new study reveals that the roots of animal domestication in Central Asia stretch back at least 8,000 years -- making the region one of the oldest continuously inhabited pastoral landscapes in the world. The findings push back the presence of domesticated animals in the region by some 3,000 years.