Do you own a pet? If yes, you must know the wonderful feeling that owning a pet (who becomes an integral part of your life) elicits. It’s difficult to say about the first time man started domesticating animals. It seems like forever. The most likely reasons for their bonding seems to be the need for natural interdependence. Man needed a sturdy animal like the horse for transportation; cattle fed us with milk and meat, hens gave us eggs, and dogs became secondary shepherds by looking after herds of cattle. In return for the services, the animals were offered shelter, protection against other more ferocious animals and also against diseases. Most of these animals have their own wild history and an ancestral past. Let’s make an effort to trace in the following those domestic animals with vicious wild ancestors! Here we go—
If we trace back the ancestors of cattle, we’d see that they have descended from the Aurochs, which have now become extinct. The first instance of domesticating this wild beast happened only 10,500 years ago in Iran! It was only 6,000 years afterwards when the Indians started domesticating the animal, which they now refer to as “Gau Mata”— However, do you know cattle’s end products are one of the major sources of the awful greenhouse gas, methane?
6. Gold Fish
Have you seen any aquarium without the presence of Gold Fish? I bet you haven’t. But astonishingly, the domestication of the same fish started only two millenniums ago in China when ponds full of Gold Fish became an extravagant and popular public tourist spot. Their wild ancestors are the Prussian Carps which, instead of sharing a vibrant orange and gold color, had a sheen of metallic greens over them, which had a beauty of their own!
Who doesn’t like rabbit? Even those who don’t really love animals find the rabbits gullible and for their tender and playful appearance. However, did you know that it was only in 200 BCE that rabbits were first brought in from Spain by the Romans and that too only for their meat! It was way after that, in 500 AD when the French monks actually initiated the process of domesticating them in the truest sense of the term—a process that’s never going to cease anytime soon! Amen.
These are the descendents of that which our ancestors knew as the Red Jungle Fowls though the genes of Grey Jungle Fowls contribute too in the “making” of what we now know as the Hens or Cocks. Although it is believed that their domestication started in the Harappan Civilization some 4000 years ago, another much recent survey claims that domesticating chicken has been en vogue for the past 10,000 years! Whatever be it, we all surely do love our chicken, don’t we?
The Greylag goose and the native Egyptian goose were domesticated in Egypt some 3,000 to 4,000 years ago. However, in Roman scripts and treatises, we do hear about these geese, but whether or not they were domesticated is still a question looming about large! Recent surveys have put forth that the Swan Geese were domesticated in China much earlier than in Egypt!
2. Wild Turkey
Whenever we think of Turkey, Thanksgiving comes to our minds. But that wasn’t perhaps the main reason for which the Mexicans started domesticated them some 2000 years ago. In fact, the Native Americans were drawn to these birds due to their vibrant and colorful feathers so much so that they were regularly offered prizes for their ceremonial significance.
How nice and beautiful a lake or pond looks with ducks. However, it might surprise you to know that we started domesticating them as recently as 2000 years from now (though some people claim it to be 10,000 years)! These wild mallards (an ancestral species) were first domesticated in China not only for their tasty meat, but also to use them as a guard to keep their paddy fields pest free. Muscovy ducks, a South American species, were domesticated after a millennium of their domestication in the east!