Until a recent molecular genetic study on present-day Africa cattle (Hanotte et al., 2002) revealed that the earliest cattle (Bos taurus) originated within the African continent, the widely accepted theory had been that this group of Humpless (Bos taurus) Hametic Longhorn cattle breeds have descended from the first domesticated cattle populations of the Humpless Hamitic Longhorn cattle in the region so-called the 'Fertile Crescent', possibly 9000 BP (Payne and Hodges, 1997); these were said to be the first cattle to be introduced to Africa across the land connection with Asia by nomadic people and have spread to the west and south of Egypt. However, archaeological findings led to the new theory that there was an African centre of domestication in the Sahara from southern Libya and north-western Niger to southern Egypt (MacDonald, 2000). Further genetic studies also suggested that the present-day humpless cattle populations are so divergent from similar cattle populations of Europe that separate domestication could have occurred in Africa (Bradley and Loftus, 2000). This was supported by the genetic evidence from Hanotte et al. (2002), which also indicated an exogenous but minor genetic influence of non-African origin from Europe and /or Near East in the breeds of north and northeast of Africa as well as localised areas of southern Africa. These African taurine cattle were also influenced by a slow genetic introgression by the zebu cattle (Bos indicus) of Asian origin. There are now convincing genetic and archaelogical evidences for the domestication within Africa of these African taurine cattle breeds. The Humpless Longhorn group of cattle breeds are at present represented by two breeds - the N'Dama and the Kuri, though the two breeds are quite distinct in their morphology (Rege and Tawah, 1999).
Breed Origin :
It is considered to be a pure descendent of the original Hamitic Longhorn of north-east Africa.
Its habitat includes the Fouta Djallon plateau in Guinea (original homeland); the whole of coastal West and Central Africa: Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Cote d'Ivoire, western Mali, Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Gabon, Congo (Brazzaville), and Democratic Republic of Congo (former Zaire).
Growing compelling evidence for its tolerance to trypanosomosis. The N'Dama plays an important role in tsetse-infested regions of west and central Africa where other breeds of cattle cannot survive.