Sheep are quadrupedal, ruminant mammals typically kept as livestock. Sheep were among the first animals to be domesticated by humankind. The word sheep began in Middle English as a derivation of the Old English word scēap; it is both the singular and plural name for the animal.
About Sheep in brief
Sheep are quadrupedal, ruminant mammals typically kept as livestock. Sheep are most likely descended from the wild mouflon of Europe and Asia, with Iran being a geographic envelope of the domestication center. Sheep were among the first animals to be domesticated by humankind. The domestication date is estimated to fall between 11,000 and 9,000 B. C in Mesopotamia and possibly around 7,000 C. in Mehrgarh in the Indus Valley. Sheep continue to be important for wool and meat today, and are also occasionally raised for pelts, as dairy animals, or as model organisms for science. A sheep’s wool is the most widely used animal fiber, and is usually harvested by shearing. Ovine meat is called lamb when from younger animals and mutton when from older ones in Commonwealth countries. A group of sheep is called a flock. Many other specific terms for the various life stages of sheep exist, generally related to lambing, shearing, and age. Sheep figure in many mythologies and major religions, especially the Abrahamic traditions. In both ancient and modern religious ritual, sheep are used as sacrificial animals. There is a large lexicon of unique terms for sheep husbandry which vary considerably by region and dialect. The word sheep began in Middle English as a derivation of the Old English word scēap; it is both the singular and plural name for the animal. Initially, sheep were kept solely for meat, milk and skins. The rearing of sheep for secondary products, and the resulting breed development, began in either southwest Asia or western Europe.
A few primitive breeds of sheep retain a single horned pair, but a few breeds may have several traits of wild sheep. Wild sheep are largely brown, largely brown hues, with no horns in both sexes, or in both males or in males only in males. Domestic sheep differ from their wild relatives in several neotenic respects, having become selective by breeding by humans as a result of selective breeding. The most common trait in domestic sheep compared to wild sheep is their wide variation in color and variation in ovines compared to their wild cousins. The sheep are most often associated with pastoral, Arcadian imagery. They are also used in religious rituals, such as the Golden Fleece, and in many ancient religions, including the Abrahamian religion and the Zoroastrianism of Zoroastri. The name sheep applies to many species in the genus Ovis, but in everyday usage it almost always refers to Ovis aries. Numbering a little over one billion, domestic sheep are also the most numerous species of sheep. Sheep husbandry is practised throughout the majority of the inhabited world, and has been fundamental to many civilizations. In the modern era, Australia, New Zealand, the southern and central South American nations and the British Isles are most closely associated with sheep production. Archaeological evidence from statuary found at sites in Iran suggests that selection for woolly sheep may have begun around 6000 BC.