Which animals did we domesticate first and why?

There domesticationthat is, the process of selection of certain ones characteristics of a animal species by humans, it happened independently in various areas of the world between the end of Paleolithic and the Mesolithicapproximately between 14,000 and 12,000 years ago. The purpose of domestication was exploitation of animals for specific reasons, usually natural food (as in the case of pigsof the cattle and gods sheep and goats) or to carry out some tasks (guarding the wolf-dog or the sum for cattle and equines). This process developed in parallel with that of the domestication of some plant specieswhich gave rise to the practice ofagriculture and to Neolithic revolutiondestined to change the history of humanity forever.

The first animals to be domesticated

The first animals to be domesticated were wolves (Canis lupus), in Europe and in Siberiaabout 14,000 years ago. Paleolithic hunter-gatherer societies favored interbreeding among more specimens weak And employeesgiving rise to a new biologically distinct species: the dog (Canis lupus familiaris).

Subsequently, between 12,000 and 10,000 years agoin the Fertile Crescent the domestication of other species for food began. The first animals to be domesticated for this purpose were sheep and goatsas sheep (Ovis aries) And goats (Capra hircusstarting from the wild species Capra aegagrus), to provide milk, meat And skins. Subsequently followed by pigs (Sus scrofa domesticusstarting from the wild species Sus scrofathe wild boar) ei cattle (Bull taurusstarting from Bos primigeniusthe ancient aurochsat this point extinct), with the latter also exploited as workforce for activities in the fields.


Other species, based on their characteristics, were domesticated for more specific reasons. The beesfor example, were exploited in the Mediterranean basin for the production of honey starting from at least 9,000 years ago. The catselected from Eurasian wild cat (Felis silvestris), was recognized as useful in containing the rodent infestations which could jeopardize the conservation of the grains of the first farmers.

Later than other animals, some species were also domesticated equines and of camelids in various areas of the planet. About 6,000-5,000 years agoin Northern Africathrough the selection of some specimens of wild african donkey (Equus africanus) the current one was born domestic donkey (Equus africanus asinus), exploited for the transport and the work in the fields. The horse (Equus ferus caballus), animal from transport and from warwas domesticated in steppes between Eastern Europe and Central Asia starting from wild specimens (Equus ferus). The camelin its two African species (Camelus dromedarius) and Asian (Camelus bactrianus) was probably domesticated independently in Northern Africa and in Central Asia about 5,000-4,000 years agoto be exploited for the transport and the soma. The populations ofSouth Americabetween 5,000 to 4,000 years agothey domesticated the lama (Glama blade) they alpaca (Vicugna pacos) from guanaco (Guanacoe llama) and from vicugna (Vicugna vicugna) to get it wool And meat.