Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Animals in History Roundup

Jerry Adler and Andrew Lawler, "How the Chicken Conquered the World: The epic begins 10,000 years ago in an Asian jungle and ends today in kitchens all over the world," Smithsonian Magazine (June 2012)

The chickens that saved Western civilization were discovered, according to legend, by the side of a road in Greece in the first decade of the fifth century B.C. The Athenian general Themistocles, on his way to confront the invading Persian forces, stopped to watch two cocks fighting and summoned his troops, saying: “Behold, these do not fight for their household gods, for the monuments of their ancestors, for glory, for liberty or the safety of their children, but only because one will not give way to the other.”>>>

"Modern dogs have 'little in common' with ancient breeds," BBC, May 21, 2012

The cross-breeding of dogs has made it difficult to trace the genetic roots of today's pets, according to a new study.

Scientists from Durham and Aberdeen analysed data from the genetic make-up of modern dogs while assessing the archaeological record of dog remains.

They found that modern breeds genetically have little in common with their ancient ancestors.>>>

"How to Build a Dog: Photo Essay," National Geographic (February 2012)

Scientists have found the secret recipe behind the spectacular variety of dog shapes and sizes, and it could help unravel the complexity of human genetic disease.>>>

Sarah C. P. Williams, "Whence the Domestic Horse?" Science, May 7, 2012

Shards of pottery with traces of mare's milk, mass gravesites for horses, and drawings of horses with plows and chariots:
These are some of the signs left by ancient people hinting at the importance of horses to their lives. But putting a place and date on the domestication of horses has been a challenge for archaeologists. Now, a team of geneticists studying modern breeds of the animal has assembled an evolutionary picture of its storied past. Horses, the scientists conclude, were first domesticated 6000 years ago in the western part of the Eurasian Steppe, modern-day Ukraine and West Kazakhstan. And as the animals were domesticated, they were regularly interbred with wild horses, the researchers say.>>>

Jared Diamond, "What Makes Countries Rich or Poor?" New York Review of Books, June 7, 2012

. . . . Europe has had a long history (of up to nine thousand years) of agriculture based on the world’s most productive crops and domestic animals, both of which were domesticated in and introduced to Europe from the Fertile Crescent, the crescent-shaped region running from the Persian Gulf through southeastern Turkey to Upper Egypt. Agriculture in tropical Africa is only between 1,800 and 5,000 years old and based on less productive domesticated crops and imported animals.>>>


Petspro said...

My cat is doing his needs (only feces) on the floor all the time. Why?

Randall said...

He needs to read up on his cat history. Cats don't need to make messes like that any more. They are civilized now.