Ancient DNA from a 2700-year-old goitered gazelle ( Gazella subgutturosa) supports gazelle hunting in Iron Age Central Asia

R Soc Open Sci. 2022 Jun 15;9(6):220104. doi: 10.1098/rsos.220104. eCollection 2022 Jun.


Central Asia has been an important region connecting the different parts of Eurasia throughout history and prehistory, with large states developing in this region during the Iron Age. Archaeogenomics is a powerful addition to the zooarchaeological toolkit for understanding the relation of these societies to animals. Here, we present the genetic identification of a goitered gazelle specimen (Gazella subgutturosa) at the site Gazimulla-Tepa, in modern-day Uzbekistan, supporting hunting of the species in the region during the Iron Age. The sample was directly radiocarbon dated to 2724-2439 calBP. A phylogenetic analysis of the mitochondrial genome places the individual into the modern variation of G. subgutturosa. Our data do represent both the first ancient DNA and the first nuclear DNA sequences of this species. The lack of genomic resources available for this gazelle and related species prevented us from performing a more in-depth analysis of the nuclear sequences generated. Therefore, we are making our sequence data available to the research community to facilitate other research of this nowadays threatened species which has been subject to human hunting for several millennia across its entire range on the Asian continent.

Keywords: Central Asia; Iron Age; ancient DNA; archaeogenomics; mitogenome.

Associated data

  • figshare/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.6024060