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Domestication

Selective breeding of plants and animals to serve humans / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Domestication is a multi-generational mutualistic relationship between humans and other organisms, in which humans took over control and care to obtain a steady supply of resources including food. The process was gradual and geographically diffuse, based on trial and error.

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Dogs and sheep were among the first animals to be domesticated, at least 15,000 and 11,000 years ago respectively.[1]
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Rice was domesticated in China, some 13,500 to 8,200 years ago.[2]

The first animal to be domesticated was the dog, as a commensal, at least 15,000 years ago. Other animals including goat, sheep, and cow were domesticated starting around 11,000 years ago. Among birds, the chicken was domesticated in East Asia, seemingly for cockfighting, some 7,000 years ago. The horse came under domestication around 5,500 years ago in central Asia as a working animal. Among invertebrates, the silkworm and the western honey bee were domesticated over 5,000 years ago for silk and honey, respectively.

The domestication of plants began around 13,000–11,000 years ago with cereals such as wheat and barley in the Middle East, alongside crops such as lentil, pea, chickpea, and flax. Rice was first cultivated in China some 13,500 to 8,200 years ago. Beginning around 10,000 years ago, Indigenous peoples in the Americas began to cultivate peanuts, squash, maize, potatoes, cotton, and cassava. In Africa, crops such as sorghum were domesticated. Agriculture developed in some 13 centres around the world, domesticating different crops and animals.

Domestication affected genes for behavior in animals, making them less aggressive. In plants, domestication affected genes for morphology, such as increasing seed size and stopping the shattering of seed-heads such as in wheat. Such changes both make domesticated organisms easier to handle, and reduce their ability to survive in the wild.

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