Tibetan yak culture
Tibetan yak culture
When people think of the animals of Tibet, a yak has to be among the first they think of. Eighty-five percent (or about 10 million) of the world's yaks live on the Tibetan Plateau.
A yak is built to survive tough environments. Yaks have three times more red blood cells than normal cows so they are able to live without any problems on the high elevation grasslands of Tibet. Their long, thick hair insulates their bodies from winter temperatures that can get to -30C (-22F) or colder. Most yaks are black, but it is not uncommon to see white or gray ones.
Yaks belong to the genus Bos, and are therefore closely related to cattle. Mitochondrial DNA analyses to determine the evolutionary history of yaks have been somewhat ambiguous. The yak may have diverged from cattle at any point between one and five million years ago, and there is some suggestion that it may be more closely related to bison than to the other members of its designated genus.
Apparent close fossil relatives of the yak, such as Bos baikalensis, have been found in eastern Russia, suggesting a possible route by which yak-like ancestors of the modern American bison could have entered the America.
The species was originally designated as Bos grunniens ("grunting ox") by Linnaeus in 1766, but this name is now generally only considered to refer to the domesticated form of the animal, with Bos mutus ("mute ox") being the preferred name for the wild species.
Tibetan people and Yak
Yak, the first creature being domesticated by the Tibetan people, has lived on Tibet since the ancient time. It develops with the civilization of Tibet people and is gradually melted as a part of the Tibetan ethnic culture.
Yak is a kind of animal with mild, kind, patient and tough characters. Because of these characters, nomadic people take it as a necessary role in their daily life. The harsh weather conditions including the searing summers and the frozen winters, the dried dung of yaks is an important fuel, used all over Tibet, and is often the only fuel available on the high treeless Tibetan plateau.
Yaks transport goods across mountain passes for local farmers and traders as well as for climbing and trekking expeditions. "Only one thing makes it hard to use yaks for long journeys in barren regions. They will not eat grain, which could be carried on the journey. They will starve unless they can be brought to a place where there is grass." It plays as the essential role in nomadic people's life.
Suffering from the bad living conditions in the roof range of the world, nomadic people can not live without yak in all facets. Yak milk and meat as their food, yak meat is high in protein with only one-sixth the fat of regular beef. In the summer months it is dried, but in winter it is often eaten raw. Yak leather is used as their coats and tents, nomadic groups exist in this world generation to generation by yaks assist.
Wild yak now is living in the Tangula Mountain Radge and Tongtianhe River bands. This powerful and huge animal is a symbol of the vigorous life in the world. And the functions of yak make it as a guardian spirit for nomadic people.