Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
No Cover Image

Animals as Domesticates: A World View through History

Juliet Clutton-Brock
Series: The Animal Turn
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 240
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Animals as Domesticates
    Book Description:

    Drawing on the latest research in archaeozoology, archaeology, and molecular biology,Animals as Domesticatestraces the history of the domestication of animals around the world. From the llamas of South America and the turkeys of North America, to the cattle of India and the Australian dingo, this fascinating book explores the history of the complex relationships between humans and their domestic animals. With expert insight into the biological and cultural processes of domestication, Clutton-Brock suggests how the human instinct for nurturing may have transformed relationships between predator and prey, and she explains how animals have become companions, livestock, and laborers. The changing face of domestication is traced from the spread of the earliest livestock around the Neolithic Old World through ancient Egypt, the Greek and Roman empires, South East Asia, and up to the modern industrial age.

    eISBN: 978-1-60917-314-2
    Subjects: Sociology, Anthropology, Zoology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. ix-x)

    Domesticated animals are such commonplace features of the modern world that we tend to take them for granted. Yet evolutionarily speaking, this remarkably successful and ubiquitous category of living organisms is still a newcomer. A mere 20,000 years ago—a blink of the eye from the perspective of evolution—none of these animals existed, except perhaps for a few tamed wolves, soon to become dogs. At that time, the vast bulk of Earth’s terrestrial vertebrate biomass consisted of wild animals, while the human population was a diminutive fraction of its current size, perhaps no more than a million persons altogether....

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    Aristotle, who was born in 384 BCE, believed that everything in nature had a purpose, and this purpose was for the benefit of mankind. He wrote, “plants are evidently for the sake of animals, and animals for the sake of Man; thus Nature, which does nothing in vain, has made all things for the sake of Man.”¹ For more than 2,000 years, from writings that are even earlier than those of Aristotle until the discovery of the laws of evolution, it was usual throughout the Western world to believe that the universe had been created in a “Scale of Nature”...

  6. 1 Eurasia after the Ice
    (pp. 11-18)

    Around 20,000 years ago the Northern Hemisphere was in the grip of the coldest phase of the last Ice Age, the Neanderthal race of humans (Homo neanderthalensis) was almost extinct, and anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens) were living as hunter-gatherers in small groups wherever the icy cold allowed them to find food and shelter. But the world was warming up, and in “fits and starts” over the next 5,000 years the huge ice sheets that covered the land and sea were beginning to melt. Between 17,000 and 13,000 years ago a few families in western Russia and central Europe must...

  7. 2 Settlement and Domestication in Eurasia
    (pp. 19-34)

    As the ice sheets melted in northern Europe and Asia, the climate of the Mediterranean region and western Asia became warmer and wetter, and the nomadic people, like those in the north, flourished by hunting the local wildlife and gathering the abundant edible plants and wild cereals. The earliest period after the end of the Ice Age in this region is known as the Epipalaeolithic, and like the Mesolithic people of Europe, the hunters used arrows tipped with small sharp flakes, or microliths. The Epipalaeolithic has a different terminology in different regions of western Asia. In the Levant it is...

  8. 3 Arrival of Domesticates in Europe
    (pp. 35-46)

    Ever since Gordon Childe, one of the most erudite and renowned prehistorians of the twentieth century, wrote his classic work,The Dawn of European Civilization, which was first published in 1925, there have been countless books, articles, and reviews written on the spread of farming from the Fertile Crescent westward and north across the European continent.¹ As Childe noted in 1958, in his preface to a later, more popular work, the subject “is often buried under a forbidding accumulation of outlandish culture-names and references to obscure periodicals.”² Today, as might be expected, this accumulation has grown enormously, but the core...

  9. 4 Domesticates in Ancient Egypt and Their Origins
    (pp. 47-60)

    Toward the end of the last Ice Age and into the Holocene, the climate of North Africa went through dramatic alternations of wet and dry periods. From around 18,000 to 12,000 years ago there was a period of extreme aridity in the Sahara, which drove out all human inhabitants and most of the animals, except for where they could retreat to refuge areas in the eastern Nile Valley and on the northern coastline. Then, with the melting of the ice in the north, from 12,000 to around 8,000 years ago, the rains returned, and much of the Sahara became grasslands...

  10. 5 Domesticates of the Ancient Israelites, Assyrians, and Scythians
    (pp. 61-70)

    Politically, the most important development of the Levant in the early first millennium BCE was the establishment of the Israelite state.¹ Its history is told in the Old Testament, beginning with the Book of Genesis, perhaps around 1500 BCE, and ending with the Books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Chronicles sometime before Alexander the Great in the fourth century BCE. However, the Books have no established chronology, and it is impossible to date any of them with any accuracy. In ancient Egypt, the period covered by the Old Testament may have begun with the Eleventh Dynasty (2040–1991 BCE) of the...

  11. 6 Domesticates in the Classical World of Greece and Rome
    (pp. 71-80)

    At the time of Genesis and the beginnings of the Israelite kingdom, the ancient Minoans on Crete, like the ancient Egyptians, were at the peak of their Bronze Age civilization. Like all the peoples of temperate Eurasia, 3,000 to 4,000 years ago, most of the Minoans were pastoralists who herded sheep, goats, and cattle; kept dogs; and harvested cereal crops. The elite of this civilization, however, were different. They lived in large, elaborate palaces (or temples) with walls that were painted with beautiful frescoes. The best known of these palaces is at Knossos; its ruins were excavated and restored by...

  12. 7 Domesticates in Ancient India and Southeast Asia
    (pp. 81-98)

    Although a notable number of East Aslan domestic animals belong to different species from those of Europe and western Asia, the development of human societies, since the end of the Pleistocene period 10,000 years ago, has followed much the same course in the East as in the West. However, as in other parts of the world, particularly in Africa, the chronological sequence of cultural systems has not been straightforward in the East, and in quite recent times hunter-gatherer communities have often been found to subsist on their own or together with livestock herders. The site of Langhnaj in Gujarat (northern...

  13. 8 Domesticates in Oceania
    (pp. 99-108)

    Oceania is a geographical region that includes the continents of Australia and New Zealand as well as Papua New Guinea and a very large number of smaller islands across the Pacific Ocean, as shown figure 48.

    With acceptance of the theory that the first anatomically modern humans moved out of Africa about 200,000 years ago, most anthropologists now agree that these first humans then traveled through Asia and India, keeping to the coasts, until they reached East Asia about 70,000 years ago. Sea levels were lower at this time, which is termed the Lower Pleniglacial, when the north was covered...

  14. 9 Domestic in Africa South of the Sahara
    (pp. 109-120)

    The fossil record shows that the first humans evolved in Africa 200,000 years ago, and from this continent they slowly traveled across the world, reaching Australia 60,000 years ago, Europe 40,000 years ago, and the Americas 15,000 years ago. Linguistic and genetic evidence indicates that the people who stayed behind are represented today by the last of the San Bushmen. The genetic structure of Bushmen individuals has shown that in their genomic divergencies, they are more different from each other than a European is from an Asian, and they belong to the oldest known lineage of modern humans.¹ These people...

  15. 10 Domesticates in the Americas
    (pp. 121-132)

    North America was the last habitable continent to be reached by anatomically modern humans, who probably walked there across the Bering Straits from Asia during the Late Glacial Maximum (LGM), from around 13,000 to 10,000 years ago. At whatever place they arrived in the inhospitable frozen tundra, these intrepid travelers must then have moved south through ice-free corridors, but neither the archaeological nor the genetic evidence has been able to establish the routes of their migration, and argument continues. However, it is known from the work of Dennis O’Rourke and Jennifer Raff that the genetic diversity of Native Americans is...

  16. Conclusions
    (pp. 133-138)

    For the past 10,000 years and more, the interaction between humans and animals has been evolving into an ever-closer relationship, which has moved away from that of predator and prey into a cooperative dependence from which neither can escape. Today, the majority of the world’s populations of humans could not survive without the resources supplied by their domestic animals, and the innumerable breeds of domestic animals could not survive without the care and nourishment provided by their human owners. The gradual spread of this interdependence has followed the course of human history, although at different rates in different parts of...

  17. APPENDIX: Nomenclature of the Domestic Animals and Their Wild Progenitors
    (pp. 139-142)
  18. Notes
    (pp. 143-162)
  19. Bibliography
    (pp. 163-176)
  20. Index
    (pp. 177-189)
  21. Back Matter
    (pp. 190-190)