Man’s best friend the dog was domesticated from the grey wolf, it was about thirty two thousand years ago, when the process of domestication possibly began. The DNA analysis showed that the modern dog’s ancestor are the ancient European wolves who are now extinct.
In today’s times with so many domestic animals, that we have around us it is always a curiosity about from where and when these animals came into our day-to-day lives. Human have learnt to use animals for their convenience, be it for protection, food, milk, hide, transportation or amusement. It must have been a long process to change a wild animal into a friendly pet. After the dogs, man domesticated the sheep especially for wool & meat, it was between 9000-11000 BC, today’s sheep comes from the wild sheep called the Mouflon, still found in Iraq and Iran. Around 9000 BC the wild pig was domesticated mainly for meat in China and Near East. Later around 8000 BC the domestic goat came into human’s life from the wild goats of Iran its main purpose was milk. Interestingly, the cow originated from three different regions almost at the same time – Europe, Asia, North Africa in 8000 BC from the wild ancestors called Aurochs. Indian cow called Zebu – having a hump; it’s wild ancestor was also called Aurochs is extinct today, its origin was India. The purpose was milk, meat & transportation.
Later on around 7500 BC the cat was domesticated from its wild ancestor African wildcat from Near East, the purpose was religion, pest control and to be kept as pets. However, till now no bird was domesticated and this happened in India – the chicken which was domesticated from its wild ancestor the Red Jungle fowl in 6000 BC. Almost same time however it is believed that the red jungle fowl was also domesticated in Thailand for purpose of meat & eggs. In 5000 BC the donkey was domesticated from African wild ass in Egypt and its purpose was purely transportation & working in agricultural fields. Around 4000 BC, the water buffalo was domesticated from India & China its primary purpose was milk, meat, working in fields its ancestors are the wild water buffalo, which are still existing in the wild.
However, speed came into human’s life with the domestication of the horses around 4000 BC, which were used mainly for transportation. Their ancestors are the wild horses who came from the Eurasian Steppes like Mongolia & Kazakhstan. The horse’s ancestors are now very rare to find in the wild. The camel came around the same time from Arabia it was the biggest animal domesticated mainly for transportation of heavy loads. Wild camels, the camels ancestors are now possibly extinct in Arabia. Man went on to domesticate even insects for their use, the wild silk moth was domesticated for silk in China in 3000 BC. Even today we are using our intellect to domesticate wild species, the hedgehog was domesticated in 1980’s from its wild ancestor the four-toes hedgehog to be used as pets in Africa.
Life without these animals would have been incomplete. Looking at these animals its like they originated to support humans lifestyle, besides mans intellect has made it possible to use them for its purpose.