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Ass

Origin. The ass is derived from the N African Wild Ass (Equus asinus) which once existed in several races from Somalia through the Libyan desert to Morocco. Three of these races survived into the Rom. period: one in NW Africa; another in Nubia, between the Nile River and Red Sea; the third in Somalia. The first of these is extinct and the second prob. so; the third is now protected and just survives. Ancient Egyp. evidence suggests that the ass may have been used first in Libya, but its main development was in the Nile Valley, and the Nubian race is prob. its main ancestor. Its domestication began at least in early Dynastic period (early third millennium b.c.) and perhaps many centuries earlier than that. It is listed as being sent from Libya as tribute, and illustrated on panels c. 2650 b.c. As happened with other species also, domestication prob. was attempted in several different areas, with subsequent mixing of the stock. Description and uses. Gray and brown are the most commo