If humans take wild animals and plants and keep and breed them, over time the animals and plants may change. The animals and plants become dependent on the humans who keep them, and they change in ways that are better for human use. This change (domestication) happens by humans choosing which animals will breed the next generation. Biologists call this method artificial selection.
The first domestication of plants happened during the first use of agriculture. Humans first domesticated dogs. In the Neolithic revolution, people domesticated sheep and goats, and later cattle and pigs.
The first evidence of plant domestication comes from wheat found in pre-Pottery Neolithic villages in Southwest Asia. They are dated at 10,500 to 10,100 BC. The Fertile Crescent, Egypt, and India were sites of the earliest planned sowing and harvesting of plants.
Agriculture developed independently in a number of places at different times. The eight Neolithic founder crops (emmer wheat, einkorn wheat, barley, peas, lentils, bitter vetch, chickpeas and flax) had all appeared by about 7000 BC.
Origin of the dogEdit
The origin of the domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) began with the domestication of the grey wolf (Canis lupus) several tens of thousands of years ago. Domesticated dogs provided early humans with a guard animal, a source of food, fur, and a working animal (hunting, pulling sleds). The process continues to this day.
Cats were also domesticated quite early. At the beginning of agriculture, people started to domesticate sheep and goats, and later pigs and cattle. Other animals that were domesticated early are camels, donkeys and horses. Some animals, like the domestic rabbit, were only domesticated in recent times.
Many other animals which have been artificially selected by humans over a long period, not simply living with humans. The list is not intended to be complete.
Self-domestication refers to an evolutionary process in which aggressive behavior is selected against, which makes a species less aggressive and more friendly and social. Bonobos, who share a common ancestor with chimpanzees, show far less aggression than chimpanzees. It is thought that bonobos have become 'self domesticated' due to female bonobos only reproducing with the more gentle males. This process may also apply to humans, who are very social compared to other species.
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