Domestic goat ( Capra aegagrus hircus )
|Capra aegagrus hircus|
|Linnaeus , 1758|
The domestic goat ( Capra aegagrus hircus ; formerly Capra hircus ) is probably one of the first economically used domestic animals after the dog and together with the sheep . Goats belong to the genus of goats in the family Bovidae .
The female animal of Capra aegagrus hircus (synonym: Capra hircus Linné ) is called goat (from Old High German ziga ) also goat (from Middle High German avarice ; compare also Dutch / Icelandic / Norwegian / Danish geit ), hip , bitch or zibbe , the male Tier Bock ( billy goat ), the castrated male monk and the young goat kid, kid goat, kid goat, kid goat, kid or kid , called Gitzi in Switzerland .
In the Upper German dialects and the Rhine-Franconian dialects , Gaiß / Goiß / Goaß and Gääß / Gaaß / Gååß generally stand for the female goat (compare English goat , Swedish get ) and billy goat for the male. Thanks to Luther's translation of the Bible, Ziege has established itself in the standard language.
The domestic goat is descended from the Bezoar goat . The domestication probably occurred v before the 11th millennium. In the Middle East , probably in the southern Levant (the area of Israel and Jordan) or in the Zagros Mountains (the area in Iran). The latest studies assume domestication in different parts of the Middle East that occurred around the same time but independently of one another. After that, the populations were quickly mixed by human nomadism. It is usually assumed that with domestication, morphological changes in the skeleton occur rapidly, especially the shape of the horn cone , as well as a decrease in size. The sex and age ratio in animal bones from archaeological sites is also used to distinguish domesticated and hunted populations.
Locations that prove an early domestication of the goat are for example:
- Ganj Dareh , Iraq , 9000-7500 BC Here the age composition was given as evidence of domestication (male young animals were preferred to be killed), and the animals were on average smaller than today's wild animals.
- Ali Kosch , Iraq, 7500-5500 BC Here the predominance of young animals is cited as evidence of domestication, together with changes in the cross section of the horn cone.
With the neolithization of mainland Europe, goats were imported as livestock, as was the case with the neolithization of the Mediterranean islands of Cyprus and Crete . In the prehistory and early history of Central Europe, the goat was first recorded as a farm animal in the Körös culture (6200 to 5600 BC), as there are clay pots with carved goat heads in addition to bone finds. Goats and sheep are also an integral part of the oldest rural culture on German soil, the ceramic band . The bones of both species are often difficult to distinguish according to classical anatomical determination, so the actual proportion of goats in the history has so far been poorly researched.
Goats provide meat, leather, milk (more than sheep ) and sometimes wool. When all types of plants are present, they eat 60% leaves and trees, 20% herbs and only 20% grass. They are very frugal because they have a very effective digestive system. They are also known as the little man's cow because they are easier to feed and maintain when you are short on space and food. They were and are kept especially in mountainous landscapes (e.g. Alps , Norway ) and, due to their climbing abilities, can also be kept where cattle can no longer be kept. Goats can destroy the vegetation of entire landscapes and thus contribute to desertification , since they eat almost all plants. The grazing therefore by goats was subject to strict regulations in many areas.
Are used economically:
- goat milk
- Goat meat
- Goatskin (Chevreau leather) and kid leather (especially for gloves) as well as goat skins (especially kidskins)
- Goat hair ( angora goat , cashmere goat )
The use of the goat as a draft animal was widespread in Europe until the beginning of the 20th century. The astonishingly strong, frugal and robust goats were harnessed to carriages and wagons and, if no larger animals were available, also used for plowing. Goats were used as pack animals in mountainous terrain .
In Germany goats are also used in landscape maintenance. Here they are particularly suitable for containing bushes on steep slopes , where manual wood removal would be labor-intensive and therefore expensive. In North Rhine-Westphalia, the road construction administration also uses goats to maintain slopes on motorways as part of model tests. Due to their ability to stand on their back legs, they are able to peel off even larger trees and thus let them die. This is often desirable when pushing back neophytes , such as the black locust . In the eroded areas, after the animals have moved, an increase in rare or typical species can be observed.
In the Alpine region, goats are (only rarely) kept in transhumance flocks with sheep . Sheep and goat are not competitors for food because the sheep mostly stick to the grass that is always available.
It is not uncommon for one or more goats to be brought to horses that are kept individually in the stable or on the pasture in order to prevent aggression or depression in the herd animal horse. A goat in such a function is called a side goat .
Domestic goats are now common around the world, except in extremely cold regions. In addition, domestic goats were left on many islands as provisions for passing ships , where they went wild. There, on the Galápagos Islands , for example , they had a devastating effect on the native flora and fauna . That is why goats have been deliberately exterminated on many islands. There are also large numbers of feral domestic goats in Australia .
Domestic goat breeds
There are a large number of regional breeds of domestic goats. Depending on the breeding goal and the main type of utilization, they are divided into meat goats, milk goats and fur goats. These include:
- Anglo-Nubian goat
- Angora goat
- Appenzell goat
- Bagot goat
- Colorful German noble goat
- Colorful Dutch goat
- Boer goat , (a meat goat )
- Grisons radiant goat
- Erzgebirge goat
- Galla goat , also Somali goat called
- Chamois-colored mountain goat
- Girgentana goat
- Gray mountain goat (Capra grigia)
- Cashmere goat
- Nera Verzasca
- East African Pygmy Goat
- Peacock goat
- Roe goat
- Saanen goat
- Boot goat
- Tauern piebald goat
- Thuringian forest goat
- Toggenburg goat
- Walliser black-necked goat (see also copper- necked goat )
- White German noble goat
- West African pygmy goat
See also: List of goat breeds
Diseases of domestic goats
- The ovine and caprine is a venereal disease of sheep and goats that the bacterium Brucella melitensis from the genus Brucella is caused.
- The paratuberculosis is Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis triggered.
Goats in mythology, religion and customs
The Greek shepherd god Pan is a hybrid of a human figure with the feet, horns and beard of a billy goat. Pan is the terrifying god of the forest, vicious if he is disturbed at noon, and as a phallic god involved in numerous love affairs. He instructs the young shepherd Daphnis in male sexuality. Even as a child, Daphnis was a goat. He was suckled by a goat in the forest until the goatherd Lamon found him and took him in. This and the relationship with Chloe, drawn to Daphnis' masculinity and nurtured by a sheep as an infant, is told by Longos in his 3rd century romance novel Daphnis and Chloe . The seasonal behavior of the goats in the herd also shape the closer relationship between the protagonists of the novel. The struggle for supremacy among billy goats in the spring is shown as male-sexual aggression.
The Chimera , another hybrid creature of Greek mythology , is described with a goat's head and body in the middle as well as a lion's head and a snake's head as the tail ( ancient Greek χίμαιρα chímaira means "goat"). With the help of Pegasus , another hybrid creature, the hero Bellerophon was able to shoot the three-headed miracle animal, which breathed fire, from the air.
A goatherd at the time of the mythical King Oineus saw one of his billy goats eating on the vine and discovered the grapes from which Oineus made the first wine. Children were offered to the Greek god of wine, Dionysus , at the Dionysus Festival . According to a myth of the death and resurrection of Dionysus, Dionysus descended through the "Alkyonic Sea" near Lerna into Hades to save his mother Semele from the dead. Every year the local Greeks celebrated his return from the bottomless lake at a place where, according to the myth, a phallus stood on a burial mound with a festival, which was probably a spring festival, by calling the god out of the water and the with trumpet blows Mortuary caretaker threw a lamb into the lake as a sacrifice.
The Greek goddess of love Aphrodite was shown riding on a goat or goat. In the 2nd century AD, the Greek writer Pausanias describes a statue of this type of Aphrodite with the nickname Epitragia ("on or with a goat") as the work of the sculptor Skopas from the first half of the 4th century BC. Figures called Epitragia were supposed to show the goddess responsible for the sexuality of male adolescents, because young men were called tragoi ("goats", Sg. Tragos ) in this context . It also fits in with the fact that Aristotle made several comments on common sexuality between billy goats and young men.
The nymph Amaltheia , Pan's mother, raised young Zeus with the milk of a goat; according to other accounts, Amaltheia herself was the suckling goat. Amaltheia also embodies this abundance with her cornucopia (Latin: cornu copiae , "horn of abundance").
In the Jewish Bible ( Tanakh ) billy goats are mentioned in connection with the Day of Atonement (Hebrew Yom Kippur , Lev 13,3-10 EU ). Yom Kippur is still the highest Jewish holiday today. All the sins of the people of Israel were made public by the high priest through the goat for the desert demon Asazel , which was determined by lot . The animal was then killed “for Asazel” by being sent over the edge of the mountain cliffs in the Judean Desert. The proper name Asasel goes back to Semitic roots: El ( al ), for "God", and es , Hebrew for "billy goat".
The book of Daniel in the Tanakh , the Hebrew Bible, tells the end-time vision of the seer Daniel. Dan 8 contains the dream of the ram and the billy goat and its horns: A billy goat with one big horn defeats a ram with two horns and throws it to the ground. Then the billy goat becomes very large, until finally the big horn breaks and four smaller horns grow in its place in the four cardinal directions. The billy goat stands for the king of Greece, the two horns symbolize the kings of Media and Persia. Towards the end - so the interpretation of the vision - four smaller, less powerful empires will emerge from the victorious Greek empire. Rembrandt painted an oil painting with the Daniel vision around 1650.
In the biblical texts of Christianity - contrary to the pagan notion - goat goats reduced to their sexual instincts are seen as proverbial bad and diabolical , in contrast to sheep, which are attributed positive qualities, since Christ the Lamb of God (ancient Greek Ἀμνὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ [Amnòs toûs Theoû]) is called. Accordingly, it says in the New Testament, in the Last Judgment in Matthew 25.31 EU , that Christ lets the peoples come to him and, like the Shepherd, distinguishes them into good and bad. May the shepherd assemble the good sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left. With his right hand Christ blesses those who will ascend to heaven, while on his left sit those condemned to hell . With Luther's translation of the Christian Bible into German, the term scapegoat became a popular word. The traditional Christian atonement theology and the Christian understanding of the atonement deviates from the Jewish understanding of the terms “sacrifice” and “atonement”, as does the interpretation of the version of history Lev 13: 3–10 EU in the Old Testament . Here all the sins of the people are charged to the goat in a symbolic act, the "goat for Asasel" is reinterpreted as a substitute "scapegoat".
In pre-Islamic southern Arabia , the ibex embodied a male deity who was pursued in a ritual hunt, while the oryx was associated with a female deity. On the Yemen island group of Socotra off the Somaliland coast , some goat myths and customs have been preserved, which have to do with the role of the billy goat in Middle Eastern sacrificial cults. The myths contain the idea of goats as lifeguards, for example when a goat hides a boy from his enemies and feeds him with milk or when a boy emerges victorious from a fight with the help of the goat's magical abilities. The latter is described in the "History of Makon". This also includes the common motif of twins. In order to have a goat with magical abilities, the boy's grandfather gets two pregnant goats. When they both had their offspring, the grandfather kills one of the kids so that the other can be suckled by two mothers and thus receive the magical powers. The twin motif is related to the fertility myths that are essential for the Ugaritic religion . There a ritual is described in which a female kid goat is cooked in milk and a young billy goat in oil at the same time.
Female goats, like Amaltheia, often appear among the Teutons as generously distributing wet nurses. In Nordic mythology , it is the goat Heidrun who eats the leaves of the Lärad tree and mead flows from its udders . In Valhalla , the sky goat Heidrun donates the mead that the heroes drink.
For the Germanic peoples, the billy goat is a noble animal that is sacrificed to Thor , the god of thunder . The Ase Thor appears in illustrations and in the Snorra Edda on his chariot drawn by two billy goats called Tanngnjostr ("teeth crackling") and Tanngrisnir ("teeth grinding"). When the car rumbles across the sky through the weather clouds, it thunders. Thor's bucks can also be slaughtered and eaten repeatedly. After each meal, they are brought back to life from skin and bones. In Scandinavia, the Yule goat used as Christmas decorations , which goes back to a fertility cult, is reminiscent of the Germanic goats . A corresponding figure in the Alpine region is the Habergeiß , who originally also stood for fertility and, under the influence of Christianity, sank into a demon in the shape of a goat and bird.
Goats are held in high regard in the Celtic mythology of Wales for their magical abilities and their proximity to the goblin-like creatures called Tylwyth Teg . They are also related to the Gwyllion, nocturnal and bad spirits.
In early Christian art, the goat appears more decorative (as in the Domitilla catacombs in Rome) and less as a symbolic animal. The best-known example of a symbolic function in the Middle Ages is the representation of lust (Latin: luxuria ), one of the seven deadly sins in medieval Christian imagery. She appears in the vestibule of the Freiburg Minster as a naked maiden who only wears the skin of a billy goat around her shoulders, next to a man who embodies sin in beautiful clothes, but with one side of the body covered by evil animals. In reliefs from the 13th century in Germany, lust sits as a naked young woman on a billy goat (Ernstkapelle des Magdeburg Cathedral ); in the 14th century this depiction, which goes back to the Greek Aphrodite, is widespread in France, for example on a console in the south transept in the cathedral of Auxerre . Drawings of lust riding on a billy goat appear in books of hours until the 15th century .
The medieval devil is noticeable through its pungent smell and otherwise combines - in its external appearance with black hair and a goat's foot in the footsteps of Pan - the negative characteristics of the billy goat. Medieval Christianity similarly demonized the horse, for example when the devil is depicted with a horse's foot as an alternative .
As a common figure goat and goat come as a heraldic animal in heraldry ago. In legends and local chronicles, individual goats have achieved a certain fame. The annual billy goat auction in the Upper Palatinate town of Deidesheim is reminiscent of a specific animal . Bought as a lucky charm in 1950, the billy goat Hennes has meanwhile set up as the mascot of 1. FC Köln .
Every year on August 10th, a billy goat is declared king at the Puck Fair in the small Irish town of Killorglin . According to legend, the three-day festival goes back to around the 10th century when Grænlendingar , Danish settlers in Greenland, carried out raids in Ireland, massacring and looting the residents. Once it happened that while the intruders were marching inland they saw a billy goat on a hill and were so frightened that they ran back to their ships and never showed up again.
Iranian highlands and Central Asia
In the Avesta , the holy script of Iranian Zoroastrianism , the goat ( buz ) is found in the list of animals to be sacrificed, and in Bundahishn , another Middle Persian religious work, five goat-like species are distinguished. In central Asian palaces (e.g. in Samarkand and in Hulbuk in southern Tajikistan ) of the 11th and 12th centuries, geometrical and floral ornaments of Islamic art include images of eagles, fish, rams, goats, horses and griffins , which in embodied deities in pre-Islamic times.
The most famous goat in Middle Persian literature appears in the poem "The Babylonian Tree" ( darakht i asürik ). It is a controversial fable by an unknown poet that was passed down orally and first recorded in the Parthian language . A goat enters an argumentative competition with a date palm to determine which of the two has the most advantages and is most useful. In conclusion, the poet declares the goat, which can run away over mountain pastures while the palm tree remains firmly rooted in the place, to be the winner.
In Kyrgyzstan there is a puppet performance called tak-teke ("the jumping goat"), which is shown by a mostly female person who also plays the jaw harp temir-komuz . While playing the jew's harp, the actress holds a thread in one hand with which she lets the puppet figure of a goat, which is placed on a table in front of her, dance to the rhythm of the music. A similar game is known from Turkmenistan , where a male actor has positioned a box in front of him on which two goat figures are facing each other, which he makes to dance with two strings in one hand while he plays a long-necked lute ( dotar ). In northern Afghanistan, a similar performance by a dambura player is called buz bazi ("goat game"). The Afghan musician makes a goat hop up and down using a thread.
In Afghanistan and the neighboring countries of Central Asia to the north, the equestrian game Buzkaschi is a passionate national sport on public holidays. Several riders fight to pick up a dead goat on the field, take it with them and place it at a target point. There was a fierce scramble between the galloping rivals and the winner was highly regarded by the spectators.
The fire god Agni , who comes from the Vedic religion , is accompanied by a ram or a goat as a mount. Otherwise goats hardly appear in Indian mythology. Goats, rams and horses were the main sacrificial animals of the Vedic period in South Asia . In today's Hinduism , animal sacrifices are largely taboo and are only practiced in some popular religious practices for worshiping local deities. An exception is the worship of the terrible black goddess Kali . Its best-known manifestation is the Dakshina Kali, who stands on Shiva lying on the ground with four arms, a necklace made of skulls and drinking the blood of her vanquished . Kali receives daily or at least regular goat sacrifices ( Hindi pathabali ), a form of Hindu animal sacrifice ( pashubali ), at several temples in West Bengal , especially at its main temple Kalighat in Calcutta and in Nepal at the Dakshinkali temple near Kathmandu . At the Kalighat Temple, a Brahmin priest leads the ceremony, while members of a lower caste cut the animal up on behalf of the sacrifice to take it home where it will be eaten. The daily sacrificial food Kalis ( bhog ) consists of boiled goat meat, which is offered by Brahmins.
In African cosmogony , goats are only occasionally used as a substitute for other animals, such as anteaters and chameleons . A myth of the West African Ashanti explains how early humans lost paradise. Usually, in competition with the lizard, the chameleon delivers the message that humans will be mortal from now on. One day a goat and a sheep are sent out instead. The goat is supposed to communicate that people will die but will later live in heaven. Because the goat stops on the way and eats grass, the Creator God sends the sheep with the same message. The sheep cannot properly memorize the message and tell people that death will be their end. When the goat arrives later and tells about life in the beyond, people have already come to terms with their mortality.
In most of the original African myths, the world has already arisen and only needs to be made suitable for everyday use in other myths. In a folk tale of the West African Yoruba , a leopard, a goat and a billy goat were looking for land to build a house on. When the billy goat was the first to reach a suitable place, he freed him from the wood and returned home in the evening. The next day the leopard found the vacant space, wondered who might have been there before him, mixed water with earth into clay and went home. When the billy goat was amazed to find the clay the next morning, he used it to build the first layer of the walls and went home. So both worked alternately and not knowing anything about the other until the roof of the house was completed. It was only when they both wanted to move into the house the next day because they thought it was theirs that an argument broke out. The goat suggested they get along and move in three. At a later time, the leopard brought home first the slain father and then the mother of the billy goat for food. The horrified billy goat then asked a hunter to kill a leopard for him. When the billy goat dragged the dead leopard home on the road, the leopard saw it, was stunned because the billy goat was capable of such an act and ran into the forest forever. Since then, the goats have lived peacefully alone in the house. The story explains why goats live as pets in the village and leopards outside in the forest.
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