Human Animal Partnership: Domestication

Humans (homo sapiens) emerged about one million years ago and continued their existence in approximately 990,000 years of this period with a lifestyle based on hunting, fishing and foraging. Later,..

Human Animal Partnership: Domestication
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Humans (homo sapiens) emerged about one million years ago and continued their existence in approximately 990,000 years of this period with a lifestyle based on hunting, fishing and foraging. Later, approximately BC. 10.000 Around, with the domestication of the first plant and then the first animal species, a “sedentary” lifestyle was formed and this lifestyle had a critical importance in the development of civilization to its present stage. Contrary to what has long been believed, a sequence considered separately as hunting-gathering-nomadic-farming is not true.

Food collection or hunting and fishing activities were not abandoned when agriculture was started. Even today, hunter-gatherer cultures can be seen in some remote corners of the world. Hunting was also not abandoned when cattle breeding provided an abundant and constant supply of meat. On the other hand, in order for a nomadic lifestyle to emerge, some animal species had to be domesticated. The most important feature of agriculture has been its revolutionary transformation of prehistoric civilization, and man has transformed from a hunter-gatherer to a food producer.

Initially, he had to supplement the food he produced with what they gathered and hunted; but gradually it became less dependent on natural food sources as the number of plants and animals it domesticated increased. Thanks to the domestication of plants, more food began to be produced with less effort. As food production became more efficient, villages and over time cities formed, followed by the birth of the first great civilizations.

Once man began breeding plants or animals, mutations and recombinations produced diversity, and the selection process led to changes. Thus, in the domestication process, “artificial selection” from humans was added to natural selection; plants and animals have evolved over time into humans to sustain their lineage. Became dependent and lost their ability to live under their natural conditions. It is not yet known how long the domestication process took.

Domesticated plants and animals often differ from wild types in many ways, and these differences were not acquired all at once. It can continue to change after a type of domestication is complete. It can be said that domestication is complete when man controls the nutrition of an organism. The changes that accompanied domestication were very rapid in some organisms. This process (change) probably did not require thousands of years, and a few centuries or less. time was sufficient for it to produce significant changes in a plant or animal under human influence.

There are many theories about the origin of domestication. It was thought that man needed certain animals and therefore intended to domesticate them. This view includes the theory of a religious origin using animals as sacrifices, and the theory that domestication was “invented” to meet “economic” needs such as meat and fur.

Such views neglect the fact that when domestication began it was much easier to obtain essential needs by hunting and trapping methods than domestication, which yielded only generations later: the wild animal supply for meat and fur was plentiful and used before domestication.
Another theory considers man as an integral part of his physical-biological environment. The phenomenon of individualization presupposes the existence of a social environment. A species must have reached a certain level of social development before domestication can occur.

This can apply to both the domesticator and the domesticated: animals that have social relations with members of their own species. they are more ready to establish the same relationships with other species. It is not surprising, therefore, that the vast majority of the first human domesticated species were herd-hoofed animals.

Another theory is that totem animals that are forbidden to kill were domesticated; however, domesticated animals do not appear to have once been chosen as totems.

In general, it is conceivable that the domestication process may have followed four phases: first, it is likely that there was an initial phase in the domestication of a species, where the species formed loose ties with the human social environment. Mixing domestication with wild species remained common, keeping the species morphologically close to their wild ancestors.

A second stage made the species dependent on the human social environment. The domesticated animal was no longer co-bred with the wild species. The result was a herd of animals that showed the hallmarks of domestication (such as reduced body size and horns).

A third stage was the deliberate development of certain traits in the herd: “large size”, for example, could provide economic advantage.

In the fourth stage, man paid attention to both the economic (such as meat, milk, wool) and morphological (such as horn shape, color) characteristics of the animal. At this stage, the domesticated herd had become standard.


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