Findings in a study from the Joseph Fourier University in France suggest that donkeys originated thousands of years ago when their wild cousins were domesticated in Africa, according to the Genome News Network. Their ancestors are now critically endangered.
Since their domestication in Africa, the donkey has provided for people all over the world. There are over 40 million donkeys, and most of them are in underdeveloped countries. Since their domestication, they have been used primarily to carry and haul loads. Because they are compact, they are inexpensive to feed and relatively easy to keep in pens and stables, making them ideal for the tribes that domesticated them thousands of years ago.