Soay Sheep (Ovis aries)

Soay Sheep (Ovis aries)

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Ancient breed of sheep. They are descended from the first domesticated sheep of the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Age farmers. Soay sheep originated in the island of Soay in the St. Kilda Archipelago. Their fleeces are hand- plucked in the spring or early summer so they have retained their ability to moult and do not need shearing. The colour of the wool varies from dark brown to light oatmeal. The gene for white wool is dominant. By selective in-breeding white fleeces are produced in four or five generations. By the Iron Age the normal colour of the wool was white

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Keywords: agriculture, ancient breed, bronze age, first domesticated sheep, genetic engineering, hand-plucked, moult, neolithic agriculture, ovis aries, selective in-breeding, soay sheep, wool colour

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