chapter  6
29 Pages

From hunter to herder: the origin of domestic animals

Fromtheverybeginningofhominidexistence severalmillionyearsagoinAfricauntilrelatively recenttimes,ourancestorssubsistedbyscavenging, huntingandgathering.Inseveralpartsoftheworld, therearepeoplessuchastheAustralianAborigines, theBushmenofsouthernandsouthwesternAfrica, theAmazonianhuntersofSouthAmerica,andthe InuitofNorthAmerica,whostillliveprimarilyby huntingandgathering.Animalandplanthusbandry, however,extendbackamereIO,oooyears(possibly longerforplants),accordingtoavailableevidence. Thisislessthanonepercentofhominidexistence. Themajorpartofthehistoryofhumancivilizationthegrowthofpopulation,socialchange,urbanization,andsuchmundanethingsascheese,andthe clotheswewear-stemsfromdomestication(and agriculture).Domesticationrepresentsacrucialmove tocontrolnatureratherthanmerelytakefromit.Itis aninnovationthatranksinimportancealongsidethe discoveryoffireandtools.