- The Plate
Contrary to Popular Belief, the Modern Pig Has Many Parents
How did the pig we know and love get to be a pig?
The standard story, beginning with Charles Darwin and filled out with the evidence from bones in archaeological digs, is that humans domesticated the smart, tasty pigs we eat now from the tough, toothy wild boars that lurked in forests. That would have happened about 9,000 years ago, as part of humans’ transition from living in mobile hunter-gatherer groups to settling into villages to farm.
But the availability of molecular tools that can pry into the DNA of organisms is causing a long-accepted history to be re-examined. In a new paper published in the journal Nature Genetics, researchers from four countries report that modern pigs have many parents. Swine were not, as the