Domestication is the process of adapting wild animals for human use. We also domesticate plants, but that is a subject for a different article. Throughout history, humans have domesticated countless animal species, and it helped the evolution of humankind tremendously. The exact origins of the process of domestication are difficult to pinpoint, but most agree that it happened somewhere between 10,000 to 15,000 years ago in Mesopotamia.
It happened when the climate began to change after the Younger Dryas period ended. The start of the process of domestication is often referred to as the domestication revolution because of how important it was. It marked an enormous change in the very nature of human societies. With the domestication of plants and animals, societies became more permanent.
Early Days Of Domestication
After humans started cultivating plants and keeping farm animals, societies were changed forever. One of the reasons modern societies look like they do today is domestication. Throughout history, humans were constantly moving, even entire societies. Once we started domesticating animals and using them for hunting and farming, everything changed. Our societies became permanent and based around one place. People were building farms that turned into villages and, eventually, cities. Animal domestication played an important factor in all of this.
In the beginning, humans were domesticating animals that were easy to manage. That means that they picked animals that were dwelling close to their settlements and had calmer temperaments. Animals were mostly used as a supply of meat and milk, while also providing hides for clothing and various forms of shelter, such as tents.
As you can see, all of these functions are extremely important and form the basis of our society. Without us realizing that animals could be domesticated, who knows how different our societies would look today. Animals were sources of some of the most important things needed for human survival during those difficult times. They still are, in a way.
Important Changes For Humans
The first domesticated animals were goats. After them, came sheep, pigs, cattle, and chickens. It is easy to see how useful these animals were back then and what they were used for. All of the things that were needed for life back then came from animals, mostly food and clothes. Later on, humans domesticated large animals such as oxen and horses and used them for transportation and plowing.
This is another important moment in human history because, through the development of plowing, humans started making settlements and creating villages even more often. Easier transportation also made it easier to return to the settlements if they decided to drift away in search of food or other resources.
The results of the process of domestication are too numerous to name. However, it is essential to note that the revolution brought by domestication resulted in the first successful attempt to use social organization in order to obtain control over the production of food. This created a food supply humans could depend upon, and this led to a larger population density.
In combination with the domestication of plants, humans had enough food to survive longer and managed to advance society in multiple ways. Naturally, all of this led to the beginnings of trading, which is one of the biggest changes in human history. It changed our societies forever.
About the Author
Antonia is a sociologist and an anglicist by education, but a writer and a behavior enthusiast by inclination. If she's not writing, editing or reading, you can usually find her snuggling with her huge dog or being obsessed with a new true-crime podcast. She also has a (questionably) healthy appreciation for avocados and Seinfeld.
Your MLA Citation
Your APA Citation
Your Chicago Citation
Your Harvard CitationRemember to italicize the title of this article in your Harvard citation.