This episode, we explore the recent evolutionary innovation that gave rise to everything from corgis to cattle to cauliflower, and kick-started humanity’s rise to world dominance: Domestication.
Domestication occurs when one species (mostly humans, but not always) takes over the care and reproduction of another, eventually artificially evolving a new lineage, tailor-made for their own purposes. Human-driven domestication has produced hundreds of breeds of livestock, crops, pets, and more.
Some more Info:
Taming of the Cat – An engaging overview of research into cat domestication, written by cat researchers.
A New Origin Story for Dogs – An Atlantic article presenting recent research on dog domestication.
The Evolution of Maize – A detailed delve into the history of one particular domesticated plant species.
Larson & Fuller 2014. The Evolution of Animal Domestication – A good overview with relatively easy-to-read technical info, plus some GREAT figures (Figs 1 and 2) depicting a visual history of many domesticated species.
Diamond, 2002. Evolution, consequences and future of plant and animal domestication – A not-too-technical discussion of the past and future of domestication, and what it has meant for our own species.
Zeder 2015. Core questions in domestication research – This one is a very technical recent discussion of challenges in defining and describing domestication.