Domesticated animals

VHS

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,739
Florania
I am listening to Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond, and I found that I have fairly respectable and reasonable
listening ability (not as bad as I previously believed).
He referred to the ancient 14, or the 14 older domestic animals.
From what I found on wikipedia:
Dogs
Goats
Domestic pigs (ironically, they occasionally become feral pigs in spite of their long domestication.)
Sheep
Cattle
Zebu
Cats
Dromedary camels and Bactrian camels
Horses
Guinea pigs
Chickens
Ducks
(Note that chickens and ducks were domesticated before horses. )
Yaks
Water buffaloes
Llamas
Bees and silkworms were domesticated before horses, is this fact surprising?
What exactly are the species of the ancient 14?
Why have variety of pets increased so dramatically in the last 50 years?
Are bison domesticated currently?
Will modern genetics render domestication of previously wild animals possible?
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
5,347
Sydney
Bison , Foxes and Zebra can be tamed with a lot of effort but they would have to be manipulated by long breeding cycle before they could be used
the purpose of selective breeding is mostly to get genetically docile animals
dogs in particular have a full range of in breed behaviors which can be selected and reinforced
the Borzoi has a genetic instinct to seize wolves by the throat and bring them down ,
it is not learned , either they have it or not

this can go to extreme for fighting dogs ,
some pit bulls have been made so aggressive it's near impossible to breed them , they attack and kill the offered mates
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,365
Italy, Lago Maggiore
Among wild animals there is a big cat which can be domesticated: the cheetah. In some regions of Russia they domesticate the lynx.

The cougar [puma] is a recent internet phenomenon: in Russia a couple has adopted a baby puma nad it seems that they have been able to domesticate it. The problem with "Messi" [the cougar, not the football player!] is that it's a big cat with anyway the instinct of the predator and it's bigger than a cheetah [and the cheetah has got smaller paws similar to the ones of a dog, so less dangerous].
 
Nov 2019
11
GMT+8
Why have variety of pets increased so dramatically in the last 50 years?
Are bison domesticated currently?
Will modern genetics render domestication of previously wild animals possible?
Just wondering what you mean by “domesticated” – cats, dogs, farm animals, etc., usually implies breeds that would not have otherwise appeared in the wild, usually to serve to some sort of purpose. Does it include varieties? Think colours of budgerigars which only appear in captivity, like perhaps domestic pigeons and perhaps koi carp. Bees and silk worms I don’t know about: are they different from what they would have been in the wild?

Either way, rearing what is basically a wild animal in captivity that is perhaps tame (like cougars and cheetahs mentioned above) or keeping reptiles, etc., doesn’t seem to me to count as domestication if the only difference is where (or in what) they live.

In principle, I guess any animal could be kept in captivity (zoos seem to manage), without recourse to any knowledge of genetics. You might need a secure cage and a dart gun to be on the safe side. A big stick. I'm not sure though we’ll actually domesticate another animal as has been done in the past with farm and pack animals, and cats and dogs: they all served a purpose at a time before tractors and other technology, or when farming animals for food was being figured out.

Raises a question about the kakao parrot of New Zealand: the tiny population lives on an island that it had been transferred too (i.e. it isn’t native to that island) and is only kept alive by humans practising eugenics, because the gene pool is too small. Are they a wild population or technically captive population?
 

notgivenaway

Ad Honorem
Jun 2015
5,787
UK
Chickens are said to have come from guinea fowl.
Cattle from aurochs.
Cats from desert small felines.
Dogs from wolves and foxes.
Sheep and pigs from wild sheep and boars respectively.
Horses from wild horses like Prozewskl's horse.
Goats from wild goats.

Domestication though is sketchy imho. Or more how humans first domesticated these species.
How did humans first capture aurochs? Did some hunter-gatherers just one day decide to circle an aurochs herd, and then pen them in? Aurochs were more dangerous by far than modern cattle. And modern cattle can be dangerous if needed. Horses too can be bad-ass, and to capture a horse herd even today (with domesticated breeds) can be hard work.

It must have happened on a small scale first. Maybe hunter-gatherers over many decades or centuries noted there were large animal herds nearby, observed their behaviour, and eventually with information passed down over generations knew how to handle them.
The same must have been true with agriculture. They may have seen that the proto-wheat or apples nearby tasted good, but it must been some time (like centuries) that they discovered how to grow them, harvest them, and keep away pests.

It must have been an organic process (pun intended) and not something sudden as we've been led to believe.
 
Apr 2014
255
Liverpool, England
I have reservations about the domestication of foxes. As a child I was taken to a zoo where I came upon an unaccompanied fox tied by a collar and lead next to the path we were following and naturally went to stroke it. Luckily I had good reactions then and got my fingers away just before its jaws closed. What the brute was doing outside a cage I cannot imagine.
 

MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,990
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
I have reservations about the domestication of foxes. As a child I was taken to a zoo where I came upon an unaccompanied fox tied by a collar and lead next to the path we were following and naturally went to stroke it. Luckily I had good reactions then and got my fingers away just before its jaws closed. What the brute was doing outside a cage I cannot imagine.
There is a project in Russia to domesticate silver foxes. After decades and fox generations they have bred foxes that act as tame as dogs. But those are a tiny minority of all the foxes in the world.

Why should the fox in your experience have been caged all the time? As a child I was once bitten on my finger by a horse, but you don't see all horses being kept in cages all the time merely because some horses sometimes try to bite the fingers of children. Why should all captive foxes be kept in cages all the time because some foxes might sometimes bite at the fingers of children?

If a captive fox is tame enough to be collared and led around on a lease sometimes, there is no need to keep it caged up all the time.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
5,347
Sydney
as a child I got bitten by a black Swan ,
there is some difference between keeping an animal as a companion and having tame animals
people have Lions , bears ,...as friends pretty much any animals can coexist with one human and have friendly relations
doesn't mean any of those animals can be used by any other human as pet , they are not tame they are just used to one person behavior