Domestication of Animals

Without the domestication of animals there would be no farming. Domestication of animals is the process of taming a population of animals so they become accustomed to human provision and control, from there farmers can successfully achieve animal husbandry and rear and breed livestock for a living.

To consider domesticating an animal, the animal species has to meet six criteria according to the evolutionary biologist Jared Diamond.

They need to have a flexible diet. A diet that includes a variety of different food sources and ones that is less cumulative such as corn or wheat.

A fast growth rate is required in order to successfully rear and take care of the species within the time frame of a human being. Animals like elephants require many years before they reach their full maturity so are limited with what use they have.

An ability to breed in captivity is crucial. Animals that do not breed in captivity or are reluctant in captivity will produce either useless offspring or none at all. Pandas, antelope and giant forest hog are examples of breeds that do not do well in captivity.

The species need to have a nice disposition. In order to work well with humans it is vital that the breed does not display overtly aggressive tendencies. Breeds like the American Buffalo are highly dangerous and unpredictable with humans along with the bushpig and American warthog.

As well as a pleasant disposition they will also need to have a fairly calm one too. Nervousness or flightiness does not bode well and creates panic and a tendency to flee which when dealing with large herds can cause problems. Sheep are an exception to this in many ways as they have a strong tendency to panic when their flight zone is crossed although they display strong flocking instinct so will stay close together when pressed.

Modified Social hierarchy: It is important that any breed display the ability to recognise that the human is the pack leader and therefore show that they can understand a hierarchy of dominance.