Teeth from a 4,700-year-old domestic donkey skeleton from Israel reveal unevenly worn enamel that is indicative of bit wear. The findings suggest that bits may have been used to control donkeys in the ancient Near East as early as the third millennium, long before the arrival of the horse. This early evidence emphasizes donkeys’ significance as domesticated animals even at that early date—a development that continues to influence the political, social, and economic life of many Third World countries today where donkeys remain an important means of transportation.

Original paper published May 16, 2018

Canadian co-authors: Haskel Greenfield, University of Manitoba – haskel.greenfield@umanitoba.ca; Tina Greenfield, University of Saskatchewan – tgreenfield@stmcollege.ca