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Animals as Domesticates

A World View through History

Juliet Clutton-Brock

Publication Year: 2012

Drawing on the latest research in archaeozoology, archaeology, and molecular biology, Animals as Domesticates traces 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.

Published by: Michigan State University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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Foreword by James A. Serpell

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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 . . .

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p. xi-xi

My first and greatest thanks go to Linda Kalof (Michigan State University), who invited me to write this book and who has overseen its production and dealt with countless e- mails. I am indebted to Seven Bryant (Michigan State University) . . .

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pp. 1-9

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 . . .

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1. Eurasia after the Ice

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pp. 11-18

Around 10,000 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 . . .

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2. Settlement and Domestication in Eurasia

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pp. 19-33

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 .. .

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3. Arrival of Domesticates in Europe

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pp. 35-45

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 . . .

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4. Domesticates in Ancient Egypt and Their Origins

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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 . . .

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5. Domesticates of the Ancient Israelites, Assyrians, and Scythians

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pp. 61-69

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 . . .

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6. Domesticates in the Classical World of Greece and Rome

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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 . . .

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7. Domesticates in Ancient India and Southeast Asia

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pp. 81-97

Although a notable number of East Asian 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 . . .

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8. Domesticates in Oceania

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pp. 99-107

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 . . .

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9. Domesticates in Africa South of the Sahara

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pp. 109-119

The fossil record shows that the first humans evolved in Africa 100,000 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 . . .

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10. Domesticates in the Americas

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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. . . .

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pp. 133-137

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 . . .

Appendix: Nomenclature of the Domestic Animals and Their Wild Progenitors

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pp. 139-142


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pp. 143-162


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pp. 163-175


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pp. 177-189

E-ISBN-13: 9781609173142
E-ISBN-10: 1609173147
Print-ISBN-13: 9781611860641
Print-ISBN-10: 1611860288

Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2012

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Domestic animals -- History.
  • Animals and civilization.
  • Human-animal relationships -- History.
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