What if Africa had more domesticable animals?

Jun 2013
728
canada
#1
i.e. rhinos and zebras and elephants/hippos. Raised both for food and used as beasts of burden and war. I can see african warfare being transformed, perhaps the bantu migrants expanding across africa with much greater ease.

Apparently jared diamond's book guns, germs, and steel says that iron-wielding bantu warriors mounted on rhinos would have expanded north and crushed the roman empire by the first century AD. Possibly even halting or negating the later expanding Islamic empires.

Interesting stuff to think about.

Africa has 51 species of mammals(i think) and yet only 3 of those native species(guinea fowl, donkey, and the camel) were able to be domesticated. Seems such a waste to me. Perhaps people wouldn't be to eager to capture rhinos and elephants for their horns and ivory if there was more use for them.

I can see africa being more densely populated if that was true as well, with these animals enabling them to cross the rainforests of central africa and the sahara desert where horses could not survive.
 

mansamusa

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
3,308
#2
The Nubians and axumites did domesticate the elephant or made use of it extensively. From what I understand Greeks and Romans relied on Meroe to buy war elephants. And one of the dominant features of precolonial africa are the numerous cultures owning large and impressive herds of sleek domesticated cattle even in Semiarid regions.
 
Jun 2013
728
canada
#3
The Nubians and axumites did domesticate the elephant or made use of it extensively. From what I understand Greeks and Romans relied on Meroe to buy war elephants. And one of the dominant features of precolonial africa are the numerous cultures owning large and impressive herds of sleek domesticated cattle even in Semiarid regions.
I know elephants were used in war but they could only be tamed as I understand it. Weren't they also unreliable just for that reason?
 
Dec 2012
1,130
Savannah, GA
#6
The Nubians and axumites did domesticate the elephant or made use of it extensively. From what I understand Greeks and Romans relied on Meroe to buy war elephants. And one of the dominant features of precolonial africa are the numerous cultures owning large and impressive herds of sleek domesticated cattle even in Semiarid regions.
Elephants can be trained but they have never been domesticated.
 
Jul 2013
15
Inside my body
#7
I suppose horses could have been good for African development. Other species, not sure, but see later.

Not even the Unicorn, which might have been (or not ) inspired by the rhino features as a domesticated creature in myth or legend.
Unicorn is believed to be based on the oryx or a Pleistocene rhino, Elastmotherium.

Now, I think one problem with rhinos is that they have such poor eyesight.

I hope this is not too off-topic:
I heard Ethiopian elephants were used by Ptolemaic kingdom. It seems to me this would be Bush elephants since Forest elephants don't live there. Or maybe it was a distinct population that could have been more like the North-African ones.

And, hyenas are actually held as pets in Africa. I was amused to see them in a particular video game.

If you would start to breed hyenas, they could have been very strong "war dogs". See:

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fM3BuQneSk4"]Faces of Africa :The Hyena Men - YouTube[/ame]
 
Apr 2010
16,748
Slovakia
#8
It does not matter where animal was domesticated. Very few animals were domesticated in Europe for example. In fact I do not remember any important animal which was domesticated in Europe. The most important ones were domesticated in Asia.

Domestication of rhino would not have changed anything for "Africans". Certainly it would have no influence on Romans.
 
Jul 2013
15
Inside my body
#9
It does not matter where animal was domesticated. Very few animals were domesticated in Europe for example. In fact I do not remember any important animal which was domesticated in Europe. The most important ones were domesticated in Asia.

Domestication of rhino would not have changed anything for "Africans". Certainly it would have no influence on Romans.
I agree. I was actually going to say something similar.

But I think horses would have helped.