Pigs were the first food animals to be domesticated, so they have a history with humans that goes back more than 12,000 years. Antiquity is only one of the reasons, however, that pork is the most commonly eaten meat in the world. This odd, contradictory animal offers a great range of advantages when it comes to feeding large populations, especially urban populations, though historically, it has also offered several disadvantages. Pork was virtually the only meat available to most of Europe during the Middle Ages, and if you ask for meat in China, you will get pork. From the invention of blood sausage by the Assyrians to the creation of such American icons as barbecue and hot dogs, pig has remained on the menu for all but a few notable people groups. Celebrated at fairs and looked to for medical research, pigs offer culinary delight and potential promise but also create some challenges. So the topic of pigs is as far-ranging as the pigs themselves.