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The sheep


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nothing at all actualy, in fact it happened several years ago when one was found in new zealand(I think) that had been "Lost" for years, when eventualy found, it was nothing short of unrecognisable LOL :)

Aha! I knew I'd not imagined that. (Strange memories surface while dreaming.)

 

That's what inspired my question - what would possibly be the evolutionary advantage of having wool that became impossible to clean or remove?

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Aha! I knew I'd not imagined that. (Strange memories surface while dreaming.)

 

That's what inspired my question - what would possibly be the evolutionary advantage of having wool that became impossible to clean or remove?

 

I was under the impression that the modern sheep was a product of selective breeding (for the reason above)...like the alpaca, which If I remember was a cross breed between a vicuna and a llama. The Incas used the fur for trade and as a sign of wealth or nobility.

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This should answer your question...especially the last paragraph.

 

from...

http://www.4to40.com/QA/index.asp?counter=186&category=science

 

It must have been a very intelligent human who looked at a sheep walking past and thought of the use its fleece might have!

 

Although the oldest surviving textile made out of wool is around 3,500 years old, the oldest fine woolen fabric dates to the fifth century BC (about 2,500 years ago) and was found in an ancient Greek colony.

 

Wool was probably the first fiber to be woven into a textile. Because when primitive man stopped hunting and started herding animals, it was his first step from a primitive life to a civilised one. Sheep were sort of a stone age convenience store for the nomadic lifestyle of our primitive ancestors, a walking food supply that required little care. Sheep provided for all the basic needs - meat and milk for food, skin and bones for clothing, shelter and tools.

 

The loose wool was less essential, but as the animals shed their coats each spring, tufts of fleece were gathered and used to soften some of life's harder edges. Slowly, it dawned upon someone that the fleece was the best part of the sheep.

 

Eventually, sheep destined for mutton roasts and sheep destined for fine woven rugs were distinguished, as good eating does not necessarily mean good quality wool. Early wild species of sheep had long, coarse outer hair protecting their short fleece undercoats. It is this under-layer that is desirable for textile use and has been selectively bred into modern sheep.

 

I guess the fleece under the outer hair doesn't shed, and the selective breeding brought about a fleece that grows like the outer hair. That's my take on it...please correct me if I'm wrong.

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