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Bird Order: Columbiformes Family: Columbidae (includes 315 different species) Subspecies: C. The earliest reference to the pigeon being used to carry messages dates back to 2500 BC and the tradition has continued throughout history. During the excavation of an Egyptian tomb in 3000 BC, the bones of pigeons were found in what is thought to have been the remains of a funerary meal. However, it is likely that rock doves were domesticated by Neolithic man as far back as 10,000 years ago in and around the alluvial plains of the Tigris and Euphrates. Characteristics and Attributes: The first mention of the domestication of the rock dove was found in Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets (pictographical writing on clay tablets) dating back over 5000 years.The sport involves each participant using captive pigeons, released from several pigeon lofts or dovecotes at the same time, and to lure as many birds as possible away from adjoining lofts using specially trained pigeons.

Images of pigeons were first found on the reconstructed façade of an excavated temple dedicated to the goddess Ninhursag (Queen of Heaven and Earth) at Al’Ubaid in Sumeria in 3000 BC.In the 20th century, pigeons were used extensively in both Great Wars to carry messages, and as a result of their bravery and heroism, tens of thousands of human lives were saved.The last messaging service using pigeons was disbanded in 2006 by the police force in the city of Orrisa, India.The Romans and ancient Greeks used the pigeon extensively for carrying messages and the first sophisticated messaging service was established in Syria and Persia in the 12th century AD, with messages being carried by pigeons from city to city.Later, in the 19th century, the pigeon was used for commercial purposes, carrying messages for financial institutions and news agencies in Europe and even providing an airmail service in New Zealand.

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