The first to describe domestication was Charles Darwin. He described how it is linked with selection and evolution. Now, we know that natural variation is caused by mutations in the genetic code. Darwin told of how the process of domestication can involve both unconscious and methodical processes. Two forces, unconscious natural selection and selective breeding, can play major roles in the processes of domestication throughout history. They have been described by the term “artificial selection”.
The domestication of dogs provides an example of how the process takes place. It is speculated that tame wolves selected themselves as dogs over many generations. The wolves were able to live by staying by humans to scavenge for food. That gave them an advantage over shyer animals. After a few generations, a symbiotic relationship formed. Humans learned that the dogs could warn them of approaching danger, provide comfort, and help with hunting. In times of starvation, people likely ate their dogs. That is something one would rather not think about though.
Animals other than dogs have also been domesticated. People have domesticated cows, pigs, and poultry for food supply. Fish, birds, cats, and different sorts of rodents have been domesticated as pets. People even keep snakes and lizards as pets, feeding them mice (also a pet). The process of domestication takes generations. However, some animals are more prone to it than others. Dogs are the most common, however most types of rodents also do well as pets as they have many predators in the wild.
In Russia, there is an ongoing project to domesticate foxes. It’s taken a lot of money and many fox generations. With each passing litter of puppies, the foxes become friendlier and more interactive with humans.
Domesticated animals have an advantage. They are given medical treatment and a consistent source of food, so they are more likely to live than animals in the wild. Whereas wild cats can survive well, wild dogs are less common. A dog who lives with people for a long time is less likely to survive than a cat is, unless that cat has been declawed. The creatures are able to eat a variety of different things. Specialized kibbles and pet treats help an animal survive longer.
The domestic cat, felis catus, is a small, furry, carnivorous mammal. It is often known as a housecat when kept indoors, but just a cat when kept around to hunt rodents and pests. Cats are similar to other felines. They have strong, flexible bodies, quick reflexes, and claws. They have many teeth adapted for killing small prey. Cats fit into a crepuscular and predatory ecological niche. Cats have an incredible sense of hearing and an impressive ability to see in the dark. Cats “meow” to communicate. It’s insanely adorable. They make a wide variety of “meow”s, and each cat sounds different. Cats can also “purr”, trill, hiss, and growl. Cats generally purr when happy or asleep. It has been stated that cats…