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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sheep*
* but were afraid to ask. Fear not. There’s a whole lot you probably don’t know about sheep. And with the coming of the Chinese New Year of the Sheep, The Chinese Quest wants to you know everything there is to know about Sheep.
Sheep – They’re not just for keeping you warm!
Sheep in history
Sheep were domesticated 10,000 years ago in Central Asia, but it wasn’t until 3,500 B.C. that man learned to spin wool. Sheep helped to make the spread of civilization possible. Sheep production was well-established during Biblical times. There are many references to sheep in the Bible, especially in the Old Testament. Sheep production is man’s oldest organized industry. Wool was the first commodity of sufficient value to warrant international trade.
Sheep in the New World
In the 1400’s, Queen Isabella of Spain used money derived from the wool industry to finance Columbus and other conquistadors’ voyages. In 1493 on his second voyage to the New World, Columbus took sheep with him as a “walking food supply.” He left some sheep in Cuba and Santo Domingo.
In 1519, Cortez began his exploration of Mexico and the Western United States. He took with him sheep that were offspring of Columbus’ sheep. These sheep are believed to be the descendents of what are now called “Churros.” The Navajo Churro is the oldest breed of sheep in the U.S. Despite efforts by the U.S. government to eradicate the breed, Navajo Churros are still raised by Navajo indians.
Dolly – The First Mammal to be Cloned
Dolly, a Finn Dorset sheep, was born on July 5th, 1996, at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her birth, not revealed to the public until February 3rd, 1997, sparked controversy instantly, because Dolly was the world’s first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell. Considered one of the most significant scientific breakthroughs ever, Dolly’s birth and subsequent survival proved that adult cells can reprogram themselves into a new being.
Dolly, named after singer Dolly Parton, bred normally on two occasions, with a Welsh mountain ram named David, and over the course of her life gave birth to four lambs; proving thus that clones can reproduce.
People born in the Year of the Sheep
People born in the Year of the Sheep are mild-mannered and against trouble. In addition to being soft and sympathetic, sheep people are also creative and elegant. The cool, serene blue color of the year will inspire the sheep to unleash its creative side.
Tech giants Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were both born in 1955, the Year of the Sheep. Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell were both born in 1847, another sheep year
To be, or not to be born in the Year of the Sheep?
Parents in China, however, would rather not leave their kids’ fate to chance.
For the past few weeks, many couples have been trying desperately to conceive, racing against time to have a baby in the fortuitous Year of the Horse. Their reasoning: No one wants a baby born in the dreaded Year of the Sheep.
Sheep are meek creatures, raised for nothing more than slaughter. Babies born in the Year of the Sheep, therefore, will grow up to be followers rather than leaders, according to some superstitions. The children are destined for heartbreak and failed marriages, and they will be unlucky in business, many Chinese believe. One popular folk saying holds that only one out of 10 people born in the Year of the Sheep finds happiness.
To learn more about the Characteristics to people born in the Year of the Sheep, read our article “Chinese Zodiac Sheep Traits & Personality“, which was written by our esteemed colleague, Bernadette King of BuildingBeautifulSouls.com.
Now that you know everything that there is to know about Sheep, and The Chinese New Year of the Sheep, you can dazzle and amaze your friends with your brilliance when the day comes!
Humbly submitted for your consumption,
—Mee Magnum (“Lamb Chop! Chop!”)