ANIMAL DOMESTICATION

In this human ecology essay, it is presented that all the domesticable animals are alike; each undomesticable animal is indeed undomesticable in its unique way. This simply implies that all happy families are alike and each unhappy family is actually unhappy based on its own unique way. To be happy, there are many different aspects that a marriage needs to succeed: agreement about money, religion, sexual attraction, in-laws as well as other important issues. The author notes that a failure in any of these crucial aspects can lead to the doom of a marriage despite having all other ingredients required for happiness. Therefore, what the author wanted to put across is that many animals form candidates for domestication, but they fail to possess the all the required aspects for domestication. The author expressly made this point by using the example of marriage in which the parties into a marriage ought to be compatible in a number of aspects such as sexual attraction and agreement about money for them to lead a happy marriage.

The author put it clear that the people of Australia, America and Africa, irrespective of their enormous diversity, share some cultural obstacles pertaining to domestication, however, not common to the Eurasian people. From this, the author wants us to understand the fact that the rise of civilization occurred at a different level and at different times making people from different continents to be civilized at different levels and at different times as well. This is illustrated by the evidence provided by the author pertaining to the rapid acceptance of the Eurasian domesticates by the non-Eurasian people, the rapid Ancient Fourteen domestication, the worldwide human penchant for pets keeping, and the restricted success of the contemporary efforts directed to further domestications. 

The civilization and culture did not develop in line with to the animals the people were capable of domesticating and using. This is attributed to the fact that the candidates for domestication differed across the continents. Those continents that had many candidates for domestication had high chances of more candidates passing the domestication test. Eurasia, for instance, had the most candidates being the largest landmass in the world and being diverse ecologically compared to other places like Africa, Australia, and America. The extinction level in Eurasia was also low, implying that the animals could survive more. However, some places like Sub-Saharan Africa had fewer candidates for domestication due to the fewer spaces because it is ecologically less diverse and smaller than Eurasia. Likewise, In America the potential candidates for domestication failed to survive thereby, becoming extinct. The author made these points by using the principle of Anna Karenina which holds that for an animal to be domesticated it must possess many of the different characteristics and lack of any one of these required characteristics kills the domestication efforts.

In conveying his message, the author divided his discussion into six parts. The first part is diet and it reveals that for the animal to qualify for domestication, it must have an efficient conversion of the food biomass. On the growth part, to be domesticated, an animal must grow quickly. In regard to the challenges of captive breeding, like humans, animals do not like mating in public. Nasty disposition affects domestication because humans don`t like to domesticate large animals that can harm them. The tendency to panic by certain herbivores is also considered in domestication. Different herbivore species actually react to any danger from humans or predators in diverse ways. Lastly, the social structure part pertains to the animals who depict social characteristics, for instance, living in herds, maintaining well-established dominance hierarchy among the herd members and occupying overlapping home ranges by the herds as opposed to mutually exclusive territories.

The article is relevant to Anthropology as it tries to explain why not all animals qualify for domestication and why different people hold differential attitudes towards domestication. It explains why different cultures and civilizations do not domestic all animals. It is articulated that not all animals qualified the tests for domestication based on the six parts that fall under the Anna Karenina principle. Also, different cultures had different exposure and acceptance to domesticate. The different cultures and civilizations also experienced differences in the number of candidacy for domestication, thereby dictating the type of animal to domesticate.  The millennia that followed saw the massive extinction of certain species of animals following their failure to meet the domestication tests. Also, certain species were never domesticated in the subsequent millennia.