The Earliest Zoos and Gardens; July 1999; Scientific American Magazine; by Polinger Foster; 8 Page(s)
Few people realize that zoos and decorative gardens have an astonishingly long history. Some 5,000 years ago in the Middle East, writing was invented and the first cities were established. Within 700 years of those momentous events, Egyptian pharaohs had built their famous pyramids, Mesopotamian kings had created the world's first empires, and rulers in both lands had established menageries and botanical gardens.
Over the next two millennia, the zoos grew to include such animals as giraffes, cheetahs and monkeys from Africa, seals from the Mediterranean, and bears and elephants from Asia. The gardens often incorporated groves of rare trees, aviaries of exotic birds and a central pool stocked with unusual fish.