Chinese Pigs

21 Apr 2010

This is one of those stories that seems to show that anything in print (books, written documents etc) but not published online has in some way become sidelined. For example, Hubert Lamb wrote a number of very thick books about climate over the last thousand years and more and yet he is rarely if ever quoted by your average modern climate scientist - who appears to be more a computer geek than somebody that actually does field research.  

This story, on the origin of domesticated pigs, having an ancestry going back thousands of years in East Asia and somehow then being transported around the world - into SE Asia, the Near East, and Europe, can be found at . The travels of the pig is a very interesting subject, as it was taken from SE Asia to New Guinea and the Pacific Islands over the course of time (as well as the far west of the Euro-Asia landmass - Celts, or the indigenous inhabitants of France and the British Isles, were cooking prize hams long before they came into contact with the Romans.

John Philip Cohane in The Key, Turnstone Books:1973 begins chapter 6 page 69 with the words, 'There is no pig on the face of the earth today that does not have in it's veins some strain of Chinese blood ... ' which is basically what the above article is trying to convey. Do modern researchers only look at online 'sources' and are they missing out on a lot of knowledge that exists on paper.

Cohane goes on to say the pig was introduced into Britain and Ireland around 2000BC - but this appears to be wrong. Plenty of pig bones have been found dating from long before that date. The pig was in fact a special animal. When it was castrated it was known as a 'barrow' - the same name as that of a prehistoric burial mound. When European ships of exploration set sail around the world they found pigs in the Canaries, Bermuda, Barbados, Puerto Rico, in the Americas, and through the Pacific Islands back to East and SE Asia.