DNA evidence is rewriting domestication origin stories

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DNA evidence is rewriting domestication origin stories

Postby BadgerJelly on June 21st, 2018, 12:22 pm 

DNA evidence is rewriting domestication origin stories

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/dna-evidence-rewriting-domestication-origin-stories

Scientists studying evolution and human history want to know how ancient people domesticated animals and plants. What species did humans start with and where did it happen first? How long did it take? Does one group get credit for taming wild horses or subjugating aurochs into milk-giving cows? Or did multiple people in different places have the same idea?


A new hypothesis is also shining a light on core changes in the embryos of many domesticated species. The hypothesis aims to explain how the process of becoming close to people produces comparable changes in the appearance, reproduction and physiology of a whole range of domesticated animals. One central developmental change — in a temporary clump of cells called the neural crest — may be behind the suite of characteristics known as domestication syndrome.
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Re: DNA evidence is rewriting domestication origin stories

Postby Braininvat on June 21st, 2018, 12:57 pm 

This is fascinating stuff. They mention that cats aren't as fully domesticated as some species, which certainly makes sense in terms of there being cats that are more aloof and generally not as eager to jump in your lap. Our cats seem to reflect considerable variation in domestication. One of them won't let you pick her up and isn't a lap cat at all. She's affectionate, will lick your hand or face, but really likes her own nap space. The other is extremely sociable (so much so that we wonder if he's kind of the Next Evolutionary Step in domestic cats), talks to you all the time, listens to people when they are conversing as if it's interesting (it's a little eerie, sometimes), begs to be picked up, carried around, or take naps in your lap or whatever part of you is available. If he's isolated from humans by a door, he becomes upset after a while, and when let in to the room makes these noises that sound like he's chewing you out and wants assurance that you're still friends. We have at least two neighbor children that come around, not so much to see us, but primarily to visit this cat.

I don't have a clear idea how the neural crest (a developmental stage as the neural tube differentiates into more mature structures) would play a role, though perhaps it relates to some later deficits in derivative structures - a sort of "dumbing down" of some forms of wild-type intelligence. I have seen research on how farm species, like chickens and cows, seem to show some neurological deficits compared to their wild counterparts (the "domestication syndrome" partly relates to this, doesn't it?). Human care, protection, and regular food supply would plausibly reduce the need for certain cognitive skills that foster survival in the wild.

Pets would be a different matter, because increased social intelligence, reading facial expressions and body language, and so on, would be of more value to them.
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Re: DNA evidence is rewriting domestication origin stories

Postby wolfhnd on June 21st, 2018, 2:19 pm 

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Re: DNA evidence is rewriting domestication origin stories

Postby SciameriKen on June 21st, 2018, 5:01 pm 



Interesting articles - goes along with the reasons I hear for why we get nervous before public speaking -- essentially that nervousness kept our ancestors from getting killed saying something stupid in public :)
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Re: DNA evidence is rewriting domestication origin stories

Postby wolfhnd on June 21st, 2018, 6:04 pm 

SciameriKen » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:01 pm wrote:


Interesting articles - goes along with the reasons I hear for why we get nervous before public speaking -- essentially that nervousness kept our ancestors from getting killed saying something stupid in public :)


Then again there is Socrates. It isn't so much saying something stupid as saying something that may reduce group cohesion.
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