Zoé Pallier, edited by Solène Delinger 11:14 a.m., January 19, 2022, modified at 11:17 a.m., January 19, 2022

A mystery solved by science.

The kunga, an equine often mentioned or depicted in Mesopotamian art texts and images, was actually a hybrid animal.

According to a study published in the journal "Science Advances", it was a mixture between a domestic donkey and a wild ass from Syria. 

The first hybrid animal created by man dates back 4,500 years.

According to a study published in the journal

Science Advances,

 it was a mix between a domestic donkey and a Syrian wild ass.

Called kunga, this equine was used to pull the chariots of the Mesopotamians during battles.

It disappeared in the face of the arrival of the domestic horse, which could breed. 

The kungas were sterile

Kungas are rather stocky donkeys, which appeared more than 4,500 years ago.

These equids had a domesticated donkey for their mother and a wild donkey of another species for their father.

This was discovered by DNA analyzes by researchers from the Jacques-Monod Institute, of which Eva-Maria Geigl is a member.

"We were able to conclude that these horses were hybrids made by human beings, because we also knew that they were sterile. The Mesopotamians must have observed a coupling between a wild donkey and a domesticated donkey. And so, they started to really industrialize this practice", she explains on Europe 1. 

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Disappearance of the kungas

The kunga inherited qualities from both parents.

"We can assume that these kungas were more controllable because the mother was a domesticated donkey and they were faster because the father was wild".

But this genetic engineering imagined in the Bronze Age ultimately did not hold up to the arrival of the domestic horse, which reproduced a little more easily.