How did a certain few animals end up being domesticated when there are thousands of others that could’ve also been domesticated for food/work, and why are domesticated animals so similar around the world?

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How did a certain few animals end up being domesticated when there are thousands of others that could’ve also been domesticated for food/work, and why are domesticated animals so similar around the world?

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Even bigger question. How come only a few apes evolved while the rest have stayed primitive for the ladt million some odd years. To answer your question, i think it has to do with the animal, its potential use and mainly temperament.

Not all animals can be domesticated. I suspect efforts were made with lots of other species– we now have the ones that the process worked with. It seems likely that there are genetic underpinnings to the ease/ability for us to domestic some species, although I am not aware that those have been found.

There’s a great breakdown of this in the book “guns germs and steel” – basically an animal has to fit a lot of criteria to be worthwhile or possible to domesticate, and there’s a heap where lots of people modern and ancient have tried and failed. To paraphrase –

1) animal needs a herd type structure that allows domestication (animals that are fiercely independent or territorial are a problem for most purposes)

2) they need to breed in captivity (so no cheetahs, even though they’re otherwise great hunting animals)

3) no picky eaters (sorry pandas and koalas)

4) no angry / dangerous things – this rules out obvious things like tigers and bears, but also a lot of the species related to ones we have domesticated – so no zebras (super bitey, like the worst angry horses), no water buffalo (super angry giant cows), no hippos

5) no super timid things (lots of antelopes just beat themselves to death on fences when they get scared)

6) it has to be worthwhile – stuff that takes too long to grow isn’t a good investment (elephants easier tamed from the wild, gorillas) and tiny stuff just isn’t worth raising necessarily (yeah, we could have domesticated hamsters ages ago, but noone bothered that much).

So there’s just a lot of ways to get struck off.

Some animals were able to train humans to feed them and take care of them. Cats are especially good at this.

Hon, did you remember the wildebeest litter?