Friday, August 01, 2008

Big Bottoms

We made a rather odd discovery about sheep on our trip last week. Sheep here have externally large bums. When six people have nothing to do for hours on the train, it is surprising how much conversation can be filled by speculating on sheep butts. Why are they bigger in this part of the world than anywhere else? How did they get to be that size? Is it genetic? Are they engendered that way? Is it natural selection or breeding? Is it their diet? Do they all naturally waddle when they walk, or is that a learned skill? The questions just go on and on. Well we reached no definite conclusions, I think it is wise to warn you if you ever come out for a visit to steer clear of the back ends of sheep.

I will say this for big sheep bums, they taste great Barbecued and served as kabobs.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think those are actually the tails of the sheep. Both in Uyghur and Uzbek culture I've been told that the tail fat (دۈمبە) is a highly prized and delicious part of the lamb and is used to flavor kabobs, samsa, and polo for big festivals and celebration. When I was told this by people I always wondered how much fat you could really get off of a tail, for as a westerner I always simple visualized something long and skinny (like from a dog) or something short and stout (like from a bunny). But this picture clears things up. I'm not sure if that's natural but if Uyghurs have been "prizing" and valuing sheep with fat tails for centuries then artificial selection would probably make the trait more common among their sheep populations.