Animal Domestication

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by Orleander, Mar 9, 2009.

  1. mikenostic Stop pretending you're smart! Registered Senior Member

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    You're just being argumentative and...

    you're just clueless.

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    oke: Is anyone in there (the space between your ears)?

    Think what you want. The rest of us know which one made the greatest impact.
     
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  3. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    you're right. Horses did in history. Dogs did in porn.


    have you read Fraggle's posts?

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    He makes a MUCH more convincing arguement for dogs and he does it without having a fit or name calling.
     
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  5. mikenostic Stop pretending you're smart! Registered Senior Member

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    We do not need to know what you used to do when you were younger to make money.


    Who. Gives. A. Shit.
    All I see is that I'm by far not the only one that says dogs made the greatest impact, and you are worried about someone calling you names. Aww.

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  7. CutsieMarie89 Zen Registered Senior Member

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    I believe horses have made quite the impact in porn as well. Just sayin'.
     
  8. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    Only in Tijuana
     
  9. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    I'm not worried about it. I just find your judgmental hypocrisy to be revealing
     
  10. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    Have we truly domesticated pigs? If you turned one out in the wild, doesn't it turn feral rather quickly?
     
  11. visceral_instinct Monkey see, monkey denigrate Valued Senior Member

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    Oh don't worry, women achieved plenty throughout history. It's just that no one gets to hear about it, because men had the power to write history, and they preferred to cast women as mere uteruses.

    That, or women were just killed or locked up for it. Look at Hypatia. Skinned while still alive with oyster shells because she was good at maths.
     
  12. nietzschefan Thread Killer Valued Senior Member

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    She was killed by Christians for being pagan and yes being a woman didn't help her.
     
  13. mikenostic Stop pretending you're smart! Registered Senior Member

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    Isn't it ironic that Christianity came from Paganism?
     
  14. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    Yes, but that can be said of almost any of the "domesticated" animals.

    Even here in Dallas, we have packs of feral dogs running around like "wild" animals and the animal control folks can't even get near them.

    Baron Max
     
  15. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    All right, I accept that. I offered a hypothesis and you disagree with it. Since "largest impact" is not well-defined, we'll probably never find enough evidence to prove or disprove any of these hypotheses.
    My hypothesis is based on evidence and reasoning like any good scientific hypothesis. The fact that it cannot be proven true beyond a reasonable doubt does not relegate it to "fantasy."
    Of course correlation does not imply causation. Nonetheless your premise that humans made peace with each other first and then dogs took advantage of their good nature has counterexamples in modern life. Take a couple of newsworthy places on earth where dogs have been excluded from human society: America's inner cities where overcrowding makes them impractical, and the cesspools of fundamentalist Islam where they are regarded as "too dirty" for companionship. Both of these were once well civilized but look at them now: people are not safe from each other. Did the disappearance of dogs from the home catalyze the breakdown of civilization?
    They didn't teach us agriculture but my hypothesis is that they provided us with a social structure in which it was possible to invent agriculture. The ten to twenty adults in a pack of Mesolithic Homo sapiens would not have been able to mount the effort while carrying out their other hunting and gathering duties; it required a larger community. I think we had to establish less hostile relations with the nearby tribes before we reached the "critical mass" to do it.

    Also, the first experiments in cultivation were all performed on plant species that were already fairly prolific. The earliest archeological evidence is the fig tree, and peppers in the New World. The places where figs or peppers grew were the highest-yield "gathering territories" that a tribe would have protected most zealously from competition. First "cultivating" the idea that cooperation can increase productivity over competition--as with dogs and humans hunting together--could have been the catalyst that resulted in those first hybridized figs that were recently discovered in the Middle East.
    As I suggested, once we learned to "get along" with another species, it would not have been much of a stretch to expand that to creatures we could actually talk to. Comparative linguistics says the technology of language is at least 10,000 years old and very likely much older, so it's reasonable to presume that we could talk at the time of the human-dog bonding. Yet creatures who could not talk to us found a way into our camps and hearts first.
    Human children love baby animals and might well have brought home an orphaned puppy just as they do today, so the impetus for the "ride" might just as easily have come from our side. A family of Muslim fundies came over when my townhouse was for rent. When they came down to my basement studio to see the laundry facilities and my dogs came to greet them the adults retreated up the stairs in religious horror. But the little boy ran down and sat with them, cooing as they devoted all of their attention to him. One of the parents had to run down and drag him away. I'll always be haunted by his desperate screams of "Doggie! Doggie!" as he was hauled back to their Paleolithic religious paradise.
    Not true. As I noted earlier, the dog travois is well established in the archeological evidence in North America north of the Rio Grande. Dogs were used for hauling.
    I never said it was a scientific fact. It's merely a hypothesis. Like all good hypotheses, it's triggered an interesting discussion. From the data that's been presented in attempts to prove and disprove it, I'm sure a lot of members have learned a lot about history and biology.
    I get along with everybody else and am popular as a consultant, manager, teacher and friend. My father, on the other hand, was reviled by everyone. My wife and I were the ONLY people who came to visit him during his declining months. He got the life he built for himself and the death he earned by the way he built it. I spent my childhood desperately trying to make a peace with him that he did not want. I had no reason to continue that fruitless effort into adulthood.
    Apparently camels were not easy to domesticate. Even though camels are somewhat better suited to dry, sandy conditions, the donkey and the horse were the riding and draft animals in the Middle East until quite recently, something like the first millennium BCE. They're not as versatile and it might have been difficult to adapt them to other regions. Unlike the elephant, an army with camels might not have made it to the Alps.

    The New World camelids, on the other hand, were apparently more tractable. Llamas, alpacas, vicuñas and guanacos were all tamed and are now bred as far away as Maryland and California. (Llamas as extremely sure-footed pack animals, the others for their wool.) But they're all smaller than horses and camels and would not have supported soldiers with steel armor and weapons.
    * * * * NOTE FROM A MODERATOR * * * *

    Personal insults are a violation of the website rules. We give members an awful lot of slack on this one. But enough is enough. If somebody complains, please have the decency to knock it off. This is a place of science so let's not have so many of the posts on this thread be so off-topic.
    Wikipedia's definition of domestication (provided by evolutionary biologist Jared Diamond) is pretty standard:
    • Flexible diet: able to thrive on foods we provide so as not to disrupt our own food pyramid. Pigs are enthusiastic scavengers and will eat almost anything, even dead pigs.
    • Fast growth rate: Able to breed multiple generations in a human lifetime, facilitating selective breeding and providing a fast payback. Pigs have a short breeding cycle and reach maturity in a year or two. (This criterion casts aspersions on the "domestication" of the elephant.)
    • Able to breed in captivity: animals that are territorial when breeding, don't allow intervention, or simply refuse to reproduce except in feral conditions, are difficult to breed selectively and not even easy to keep around. Pigs breed readily in captivity and we can manage their bloodlines by choosing their mates.
    • Pleasant disposition: The animals have to be tractable or it can be downright dangerous to keep them. The domesticated species of pig, unlike his wild cousins, is rather easygoing and smaller varieties have even recently been bred as lovable pets, at least in America.
    • Placid temperament: Animals that panic easily are difficult to keep around, if only because adrenaline gives them the ability to leap over fences. Most domesticated animals are pack-social or herd-social by instinct, so once we establish ourselves--and perhaps our dogs--as the alphas they're fairly easy to keep in line. Pigs are quite social and not easily spooked. In fact they're fairly tough and just as likely to fight a predator as run away.
    So there's no question that pigs are fully domesticated.
    There are degrees of domestication, and not all domestic animals will start looking for a new home the way a dog or certain parrots will do. But even an abandoned dog will begin adapting to a feral life, and many regions of the world where civilization has had its ebbs and flows are home to feral dog packs

    India is not going through its proudest era and even its cities are teeming with homeless dogs. Yet the dogs and the people regard each other with civility. In the recent terrorist attack in Mumbai, a dog that many people recognized was hit by a bullet. The human community rallied to his defense, took him to a veterinarian and paid for his healing. His story was followed intensely and his recovery was cause for celebration. It looks like the people felt that their ability to care for even a stray dog at such a dismal moment was a way of demonstrating to themselves, each other and the whole world that they are still a civilized people.
    Christianity is an offshoot of Judaism and Jesus was regarded by his people as a rabbi or "teacher." But that's a topic for a different subforum.
     
  16. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    Or was it the breakdown of civilization that caused dogs to be "excluded" from the homes? Once civilization broke down, the people could no longer feed the animals and so set them out to fend for themselves?

    If we take millions of dogs and dump them into those areas, will "civilization" return and be wonderful again? If we dump millions of dogs into Afghanistan, will the Taliban and other radical, extremist Muslim groups instantly become loving, happy, contented, non-violent, civilized people?

    Or was it the other way around? Once the human communities were settled enough and had the necessary social structure to invent agriculture, they were also settled enough to provide a good home and steady food supply for the dogs? Thus, when man thrived, their dog companions thrived? And not the other way around?

    Agreed. But what's that got to do with dogs?

    Or it was the other way around. And you've been less than successful at demonstrating that the dogs helped in any way with the hunting activity. It's damned hard to train dogs to hunt like that ...and there are few dogs who do it successfully even today.

    What I will give you is that the pack of dogs just might have been followed, then when the humans found the killed game, they stole it from the dogs for themselves ....giving the dogs only the guts and parts that humans wouldn't or couldn't eat!

    Viewing early humans as thieves and scavengers suites my opinion of humans much more than how you see them as such wonderous, patient, nice guys.

    I would think that it would have been far easier to "get along" with the other humans in the area that could understand the talking. And why do you not consider that early humans realized that "getting along" with other human tribes would have been prompted by how the tribe itself "got along" with other tribal members ...rather than the dogs?

    If the tribe could "get along" with itself, why couldn't it "get along" it's neighbors? Why bring the dogs into it at all? The dogs don't look anything like the other tribe of humans and sure couldn't talk the language.

    I don't know, Fraggle, but from everything that you've written on this thread, I think that it's obvious that you don't know either. And putting forth theories with so little evidence is not very scientific nor is it a valid approach to problem-solving.

    If anyone has learned anything from this thread, it should be ....don't believe everything you hear or read on sciforums!

    Baron Max
     
  17. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    I like most of your idea, as informative and useful in its approach, except that: I very much doubt that dogs were of the slightest use in early human hunting. Only long familiarity and careful breeding has produced dogs useful in hunting even now.

    And their influence on tribal cooperation would have been complicated - the difficulty of a surprise attack on people living with dogs, allowing closer proximity of enemies, seems more directly important than the more arcane psychological factors.

    Scavenging, now - another story entirely.

    The world of three continents and huge areas full of people without horses is available for your inspection: North and South America, Australia, Southern Africa, Oceania. In these places we find civilizations with agriculture, cities, metalworking, roads, trade, writing and astronomy and war and long-distance travel over land and water, human cultures different only in details from your own.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2009
  18. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    good points. So what animal did you decide on?
     
  19. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    And those "civilizations" have been gone for thousands of years! If they were so fuckin' great, what happened to them?

    Baron Max
     
  20. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    We can argue the cause-and-effect relationship between dogs and the Neolithic Revolution forever since it's unlikely that we'll ever find any evidence to settle the question. But the chronology is incontrovertible. There's abundant archeological evidence that the domestication of dogs predates the technology of agriculture by at least three thousand years.
    But these weren't dogs, the modern subspecies Canis lupus familiaris. These were wolves, the ancestral subspecies Canis lupus lupus. They didn't need to be encouraged or trained to hunt, they were hunters. Thousands of years of selective breeding had not yet taken place, adjusting their instincts toward contentment with a diet heavily balanced toward scavenging. Sure, it makes sense that the individual wolves who decided to break from their own pack and supplement their diet with the garbage in our camps would have had a stronger scavenging instinct than the ones who kept their distance. But they were not the docile, cereal-eating couch potatoes who put in a hard day's work lying on my bed listening for burglars. That subspecies did not exist yet.
    You're a little off in your details. Civilization did not arise in Australia, sub-Saharan Africa or Oceania. It only happened in six places: Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, China, Olmec and Inca. All other civilizations are offshoots, conquests or transplants of those six. Civilization came by conquest, in very recent historical times, to Oceania, sub-Saharan Africa, Australia, and North America north of the Rio Grande. But your premise is still valid. The Incas used llamas and the Olmecs had no domesticated animals large enough to ride or tow carts. And I'll let someone else look it up but I kinda think the ancient Egyptians had donkeys, not horses.
    What happened to them was the greatest evil that ever arose on this planet: the Abrahamic religions. The Muslim armies of Caliph Omar destroyed Egypt, and the Christian armies of Pope Urban's vassal Iberian kings obliterated both New World civilizations.

    But the Aztecs and Incas were at a terrible disadvantage. Homo sapiens had a 30,000-year head start in the Old World, so they began inventing civilization around 8000BCE. By the time they sailed to the New World they had invented steel metallurgy, written language and gunpowder. Humans have only lived in our hemisphere for a much shorter time, and as is typical of small bands of nomads on a long trek they lost some of the stone age technology they had learned in Asia and had to reinvent it. So they got a late start in advancing out of the Mesolithic Era. Olmec civilization arose about 2500 years ago and Inca is even more recent than that. Both civilizations were still in the Bronze Age, the Incas hadn't invented writing and the Olmecs had no domesticated animals larger than the turkey, when the gun-totin' Christians showed up, determined to spread Jesus's message of love, peace and tolerance in their own twisted way.
     
  21. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    Duh, therefore, dogs taught early man how to plant crops in the dirt.

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    What archeological evidence, Fraggle? Dog bones in human camps? ..where the humans had tossed the bones after they'd eaten the dogs? Or did they find dog tags and collars issued by the camp leaders after the rabies vaccinations?

    Well, they should have worked harder and faster. Life sucks when you're slow and uninventive.

    More proof that one should submit to stronger, more powerful forces ...unless they want to suffer and die.

    You're right, Fraggle, we'll never know for sure. But some interpretations of ancient times is often little more than flights of fantasy or wishful thinking or bias viewpoints.

    Personally, I think if we view humans like I do ("Humans suck!"), then lots of things of the past fall into very neat narratives of early human life. Humans have fucked over almost everything that they've touched, including other humans, since they first appeared on Earth. And it's almost proof positive that ...Humans suck!

    Baron Max
     
  22. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    What domesticated animal will turn feral faster? Dogs and cats will look for new owners. I think pigs get feral quickly.
     
  23. mikenostic Stop pretending you're smart! Registered Senior Member

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    You are very, very correct. I watched an episode of something on the History Channel about that 'Hogzilla' that the one hunter presumably killed in Georgia.
    They were talking about pigs in general and said that pigs are only a scant few weeks from ferality, meaning if one escaped, it would be fully feral; tusks, long hair and all, in a couple of weeks. They are also plentiful on every continent except Antarctica.
    Those are the animals we need to hunt more, as they mulitply quickly.
     

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