Re: Reindeer domestication : two origins

From: Rick McCallister
Message: 62044
Date: 2008-12-13

--- On Sat, 12/13/08, Joao S. Lopes <josimo70@...> wrote:
> Genetic analyses reveal independent domestication origins of
> Eurasian reindeer Proceedings of the Royal Society -
> Biological Sciences -Volume 275, Number 1645 / August 22, 2008
> Abstract
> Although there is little doubt that
> the domestication of mammals was instrumental for the
> modernization of
> human societies, even basic features of the path towards
> domestication
> remain largely unresolved for many species. Reindeer are
> considered to
> be in the early phase of domestication with wild and
> domestic herds
> still coexisting widely across Eurasia. This provides a
> unique model
> system for understanding how the early domestication
> process may have
> taken place. We analysed mitochondrial sequences and
> nuclear
> microsatellites in domestic and wild herds throughout
> Eurasia to
> address the origin of reindeer herding and domestication
> history. Our
> data demonstrate independent origins of domestic reindeer
> in Russia and
> Fennoscandia. This implies that the Saami people of
> Fennoscandia
> domesticated their own reindeer independently of the
> indigenous
> cultures in western Russia. We also found that augmentation
> of local
> reindeer herds by crossing with wild animals has been
> common. However,
> some wild reindeer populations have not contributed to the
> domestic
> gene pool, suggesting variation in domestication potential
> among
> populations. These differences may explain why
> geographically isolated
> indigenous groups have been able to make the technological
> shift from
> mobile hunting to large-scale reindeer pastoralism
> independently.

The obvious thought is that reindeer is a compound word from rein + deer, since they are ridden and used for sleighs, etc. But Spanish has reno instead of "venado de riendas", etc., so it must be a folk etymology in English.
So I looked up reindeer on the and got the following:
Online Etymological Dictionary
c.1400, from O.N. hreindyri "reindeer," from dyr "animal" (see deer) + hreinn, the usual name for the animal, from P.Gmc. *khrainaz (cf. O.E. hran "reindeer," Ger. Renn). Probably cognate with Gk. krios "ram," but folk-etymology associates it with rennen "to run."

Re: reindeer domesticity, I have read that reindeer need to be turned loose to procreate and then rounded up when the does are pregnant, that they can't or won't procreate in proximity with humans. But I've also read of reindeer farms where reindeer are supposedly like cattle. So it would seem that different societies have reached differing levels of domesticity. But this is seen in terms of other animals as well, even dogs, compare semi-domesticated dingos, New Guinean dogs, Central American zaguates (scavenging mutts of local ancestry) and US lap dogs that can't survive 5 minutes outside.