Where Did Cows Originate?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Mar 31, 2020 10:56:09 PM ET

The original range of wild cows was northern Africa, Europe and southern Asia. Cows were domesticated between 10,000 and 6,500 years ago by cultures great distances from each other. Typical western cattle are from the older strain, which was most likely first domesticated in Turkey.

The most genetically diverse population of cattle is found in the Taurus Mountains of Turkey, which strongly indicates that cattle were first domesticated there. There is evidence of domesticated cattle remains in China at around the same time, about 10,000 years ago, but it is unclear if these cattle were traded from Turkey or native to China. What is known is that domesticated cattle from Turkey spread to Europe and Africa, where they mated with native aurochs, very large wild cattle, and developed into their own local strains.