Domestication refers to the process in which species obtain a sustainable and predictable supply of mutual benefits. Domestication is not the same as taming because taming refers to behavioral modification of wild animals to accept and interact with humans. The process of domestication began around 13,000 BCE with the domestication of Canis lupus which was followed later with the domestication of livestock and crops.
Animals Who Have Been Domesticated
Dog (Canis lupus familiaris)
Dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) are considered the first animals to be domesticated in history. Domestication is believed to have first occurred around 13,000 BCE. The closest relatives to dogs are the grey wolves, and their common ancestor is believed to be the extinct Pleistocene population of grey wolf specifically. The initial domestication took place in Europe according to the existing archaeological evidence. During this era, as the primary activity of humans was hunting and gathering, it is theorized that dogs may have been used to assist in hunting. Many phylogenetic changes have occurred to dogs since the time of domestication which has resulted in significant physical and behavioral changes.
Goat (Capra aegagrus hircus)
The most likely original ancestor of the domesticated goat (Capra aegagrus hircus) is Bezoar ibex of the Zagros Mountains which was domesticated approximately 10,000 BCE. The archaeological evidence of the first goat domestication has been traced to Ganj Darej in Iran, but this is not the only site where archaeological remnants have been found. Goats are believed to have been domesticated by Neolithic farmers who herded them for milk, meat, and clothing. Domestication has resulted in changes in physical appearance and the behavior of goats. Goats are members of the family Bovidae, and currently, there are over 300 distinct species of goats throughout the world. Different species of goats survive in a different set of environment depending on their evolutionary adaptations.
Domestic Pig (Sus scrofa domesticus)
Domestic pigs (Sus scrofa domesticus) may have initially been domesticated in the Tigris basin from their ancestors, the wild boars. The time of domestication has been traced to 9000 BCE but remnants excavated in Cyprus point to an even earlier period of domestication. The domestication process of pigs has been found to be a very complex procedure that involved the cross-exchange between domesticated pigs in Near East, wild boars of Europe, and Asian pigs. The study has supported this complex domestication and cross-breeding.
Sheep (Ovis aries)
Sheep (Ovis aries) origin can be traced to their ancestors the mouflon of Europe (Ovis mouflon). The history of sheep domestication dates back to around 9000 BCE and archaeological evidence points to Mesopot amia as the original place of domestication. Sheep were reared for the supply of meat, milk, and skin but later in Western Europe and Southwest Asia, they were reared for secondary products such as wool. The domesticated sheep display different features as compared to their relatives and have developed to depend solely on humans for feeding and management.
Impact on human settlements
Following the domestication of dogs, a new way of life for humans started to emerge through the exploitation and management of animal and plant species creating higher population densities in the centers of domestication. Out of this there was expansion of agricultural economies leading to development of urban communities. Certain animal species and particular animals within those species were found to make better candidates for domestication compared to others because they exhibited certain behavioural characteristics.