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Thread: Horses were domesticated, zebras, not so much

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    Default Horses were domesticated, zebras, not so much



    This guy raises more interesting questions than he actually solves. He has kind of a roundabout logic in explaining why we don't ride zebras: because we haven't domesticated them! Well, okay, why were they excluded so much from domestication over the centuries? Their lack of geographic spread, being present only in sub-Saharan Africa as their natural habitat, isn't really talked about here. If anything they'd be just as easy to feed as the traditionally domesticated animals brought up for comparison. It's true, their backs wouldn't be able to handle riders on average, but that can change with centuries of domestication, just how wild horses were domesticated and selectively bred by late Neolithic and early Bronze Age humans. Instead, as the video explains, they evolved to be hostile and aggressive kickers to counter their chief predator and arch enemy, the lion. That's not a very easy animal to domesticate. Couple that with the fact that sub-Saharan African civilizations outside of ancient Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Eritrea (e.g. Kerma, Kush, Aksum, Zagwe, Abyssinia, etc.) didn't really develop until the medieval period (e.g. Ghana Empire, Mali Empire, Great Zimbabwe, etc.), it's easy to see why no one domesticated the zebra, at least not until the modern age and on rare occasions. However, the taming of a handful of individual zebras certainly did nothing to affect the species as a whole.

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    Default Re: Horses were domesticated, zebras, not so much

    I said it before and I will say it again.

    Rams.
    We should have bred rams for cavalry purposes;

    http://i.imgur.com/dR4zhkT.jpg
    http://huntdoublediamond.com/wp-cont...8934369164.jpg

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    Default Re: Horses were domesticated, zebras, not so much

    Quote Originally Posted by Marius Marich View Post
    I said it before and I will say it again.

    Rams.
    We should have bred rams for cavalry purposes;

    http://i.imgur.com/dR4zhkT.jpg
    http://huntdoublediamond.com/wp-cont...8934369164.jpg
    Yeah, I remember reading that post of yours recently in one of those TATW threads. What was it...Leo's alternative patch submod? In either case I agree. This would have been awesome. RAMMING SPEED! INCOMING, MOTHER ER!

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    Default Re: Horses were domesticated, zebras, not so much

    The thing is with these historic domestication events, is that they tend to be a lot smaller then people realize. More often then not, its one guy or a small group of people responsible for originally domesticating an equally small group of animals, and it tends to spread from there over the centuries. As far as I'm aware (and admittedly relying on my memory a bit more then I should be), the horse, cat, goat, camel and dog were domesticated just the once, and the cow (or auroch as it was called before the wild version went extinct) is rather unusual for having been domesticated independently twice (once in India, once in Europe).

    As such, these domestication events are pretty crucial to world history, even if their impact is greatly delayed. And being such singular key affairs, its easy to imagine history being substantially changed by their lack, despite their perpetrators often being small time villagers or even stone age tribals (some of these domestication events are pretty ancient) whose names and exact origin are lost to history, only vaguely glimpsed at through modern genetic studies of the animals.

    I wonder what Africa would have looked like if someone would have gone about domesticating the Zebra? We may well have seen savanna nomads to match the Beduins or the various groups that developed in, and often dominated the Eurasian steppe. Horses are pretty crucial to a lot of historic processes, including warfare and centralization; perhaps the early introduction of a suitable substitute would have seen Africa as dominant as Europe or Asia, instead of the backwater we know?
    I'm pretty sure an ancient sub-Saharan could have domesticated the zebra in a decade or two if he/she really set their mind to it. It requires very few technological resources, just the dedication, the vision, the willingness to be laughed at for the first few years, and the right combination of agility, caution and perceptiveness not to be kicked to death by a zebra somewhere along the process. Oh, and not dying half way through of an unrelated infection or pneumonia or something; these are pre-modern people we're talking about, and lifespan wasn't their strong suit. Its not an implausible achievement, though seeing just how rare domestication events are, its no trivial thing either.
    Last edited by Caligula's_Horse; November 16, 2015 at 03:01 PM.
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    Default Re: Horses were domesticated, zebras, not so much

    Why does he talk like domestic animals possessed those six characteristics before domestication, and dismisses the possibility that they have them because of it.
    Also, If you tame a zebra, zebras aren't domesticated because the whole species isn't, no . What does he think pre-historic man domesticated species as a whole, and not that domestic species branched of wild ones, that existed or still exist today.
    Either I completely suck at comprehending, or he does at expressing his ideas, or those ideas don't make much sense.
    Last edited by krste; November 16, 2015 at 12:23 PM.

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    Default Re: Horses were domesticated, zebras, not so much

    Quote Originally Posted by Caligula's_Horse View Post
    The thing is with these historic domestication events, is that they tend to be a lot smaller then people realize. More often then not, its one guy or a small group of people responsible for originally domesticating an equally small group of animals, and it tends to spread from there over the centuries.
    This.

    For instance, allegedly, all domesticated rabbits and bunnies on Earth, come from a little garden in a single little monastery in Spain.
    Basically, the priests wanted a source of meat because rabbits were not forbidden during lent so a couple of dudes in robes spent decades with those furry little wabbits and lo and behold;

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    Default Re: Horses were domesticated, zebras, not so much

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    Instead, as the video explains, they evolved to be hostile and aggressive kickers to counter their chief predator and arch enemy, the lion.
    Lions are also native to Asia, where the horse was domesticated. They would be found in parts of Central and SW Asia, just like the progenitors of domestic horses.
    Indeed, even today, centuries after the near total extinction of Asian lions, the lion is still an important symbol in Middle-Eastern and other Asian cultures.

    Bottom lion, I don't buy that argument. Either its proponents prove that Asian wild horse species evolved a different strategy for evading feline predators or they were domesticated in an area where they never encountered lions or tigers (yes, tigers occurred there, too), or maybe the kicking was just bred out of domestic horses.

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    Default Re: Horses were domesticated, zebras, not so much

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    This guy raises more interesting questions than he actually solves. He has kind of a roundabout logic in explaining why we don't ride zebras: because we haven't domesticated them! Well, okay, why were they excluded so much from domestication over the centuries? (...)
    For the very same reason we have not domesticated all mules.
    Please, take a look at Zack.
    And then compare Zack to similar sized horses.

    You might see a slight difference concerning the physics and mentality, and that is the reason why people preferred horses over mules.

    If they would try that with zebras or mules – these guys would be all dead.
    Free survival tip: If you ever in the situation to fall under a horse or a zebra – pick the horse.
    And if you pay attention what force a horse can set free – you get an idea – why horses have some advantages, zebras or mules do not have.

    No matter how great Zack can run or carry things around, he will always have competition of other fellows that can do the very same thing and have advantages Zack can not compete with. These Mongolian ponies on the other hand, can do stuff a buffalo, a ram, a goat or even an elephant can not do.
    That is why we still have wild mules on the planet. Wild horses ... gets slim here.

    The question why we did not domesticated zebras like horses, is like the question why the American natives have not become bison/American buffalo herders, by the argument that other people have domesticated cows, too.
    It's not biological 100% correct, but the answer is – a bison is not a cow.
    Nobody in Europe has domesticated bison, too.

    As I lately figured out that it is no common knowledge that Europe has bison: Just in case.
    Has been around since the ice-age in Europe– never became domesticated, and that is why American natives did not do that, too and became bison farmers.

    You need an envoirement to do that and if you have easier and more practical options, you go with them, instead of living complicated.
    Lions or lepards make awsome watch dogs, too, but for some reason do all the guys prefer the original thing.
    Ever tried to hunt with a lion? "Please, Charlie, let me get onto the Zebra, too? - Com' on, I raised you. - Please?" or "Get down from the tree, Joey! We got to share that goat with the family! No. No! Don't climb up there! Get down. Get down!" And that is why dogs are more handy, they even bark and tell you when somebody comes to the house.
    Big cats make only sure that people use the bell. So after the domestication of lions, the next invention was the door-bell. What kind of unpractical animal is this? It should make life much easier and not more problematic.
    - It is the same thing.

    ~ cheers

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    Default Re: Horses were domesticated, zebras, not so much

    Quote Originally Posted by Caligula's_Horse View Post
    ... the cow (or auroch as it was called before the wild version went extinct) is rather unusual for having been domesticated independently twice (once in India, once in Europe)....
    IIRC the pig was domesticated in Papua/new guinea and maybe Mesopotamia independently, but that serves to illustrate your point that domestication usually occurs once, and then spreads from that event.

    There's possibilities about dogs as they are as fecund as hell. The morphological changes of course show up after domestication 9on top of the whole question of what is domestic? can a nomad tribe domesticate animals if they don't have a domus? What is tame? etc etc) and probably bred back to the wolf population continuously as they do to this day. If they were ever domesticated independently they would've crossbred ASAP, so that's one we will probably never know. My guess is you're bang on with this as with the other animals minus cow and pig.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caligula's_Horse View Post
    I'm pretty sure an ancient sub-Saharan could have domesticated the zebra in a decade or two if he/she really set their mind to it. It requires very few technological resources, just the dedication, the vision, the willingness to be laughed at for the first few years, and the right combination of agility, caution and perceptiveness not to be kicked to death by a zebra somewhere along the process. ....
    Once again its the question of what is domestic? what is tame? I bet you could breed a more docile zebra fit for herding, but its a whole other kettle of fish for draught animals and another again for riding. Apparently cheetahs have the necessary cooperative hunting skills plus that certain trans species je ne sais quo to make them suitable hunting cats like greyhounds. Lions not so much: despite being cooperative hunters they don't play as well with humans. As you say they might prove tractable after many generations, I'm thinking more than a human lifetime, even an armour-clad human.

    As a side note orcas or killer whales show promise in this regard. I have mentioned the killer whales of Eden (the Australian fishing town, not the mythic garden): basically a pod of killers adopted a family of whalers and would assist them in hunting migrating whales to extinction over 50-70 years. When the whales went extinct/stopped showing up the family went broke. It all ended sadly: there was a last voyage, a lucky sighting of a whale, a kill, and then when the boat headed home the last killer whale showed up for its fee (they always received the tongue of the hunted whale). The tongue for whatever reason was not forthcoming and the killer decided to help himself...and was harpooned for his trouble.

    So apparently some killer whales have the cooperative hunting skills and that little bit of magic to make them suitable to be used as hunting companions by humans.
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    Default Re: Horses were domesticated, zebras, not so much

    Quote Originally Posted by Caligula's_Horse View Post
    The thing is with these historic domestication events, is that they tend to be a lot smaller then people realize. More often then not, its one guy or a small group of people responsible for originally domesticating an equally small group of animals, and it tends to spread from there over the centuries. As far as I'm aware (and admittedly relying on my memory a bit more then I should be), the horse, cat, goat, camel and dog were domesticated just the once, and the cow (or auroch as it was called before the wild version went extinct) is rather unusual for having been domesticated independently twice (once in India, once in Europe).

    As such, these domestication events are pretty crucial to world history, even if their impact is greatly delayed. And being such singular key affairs, its easy to imagine history being substantially changed by their lack, despite their perpetrators often being small time villagers or even stone age tribals (some of these domestication events are pretty ancient) whose names and exact origin are lost to history, only vaguely glimpsed at through modern genetic studies of the animals.

    I wonder what Africa would have looked like if someone would have gone about domesticating the Zebra? We may well have seen savanna nomads to match the Beduins or the various groups that developed in, and often dominated the Eurasian steppe. Horses are pretty crucial to a lot of historic processes, including warfare and centralization; perhaps the early introduction of a suitable substitute would have seen Africa as dominant as Europe or Asia, instead of the backwater we know?
    I'm pretty sure an ancient sub-Saharan could have domesticated the zebra in a decade or two if he/she really set their mind to it. It requires very few technological resources, just the dedication, the vision, the willingness to be laughed at for the first few years, and the right combination of agility, caution and perceptiveness not to be kicked to death by a zebra somewhere along the process. Oh, and not dying half way through of an unrelated infection or pneumonia or something; these are pre-modern people we're talking about, and lifespan wasn't their strong suit. Its not an implausible achievement, though seeing just how rare domestication events are, its no trivial thing either.
    Such a good post. I wish I could rep you, but unfortunately I have done so too recently!

    Quote Originally Posted by krste View Post
    Why does he talk like domestic animals possessed those six characteristics before domestication, and dismisses the possibility that they have them because of it.
    Also, If you tame a zebra, zebras aren't domesticated because the whole species isn't, no . What does he think pre-historic man domesticated species as a whole, and not that domestic species branched of wild ones, that existed or still exist today.
    Either I completely suck at comprehending, or he does at expressing his ideas, or those ideas don't make much sense.
    Yeah, he arguably has a "chicken before the egg" argument in a sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by athanaric View Post
    Lions are also native to Asia, where the horse was domesticated. They would be found in parts of Central and SW Asia, just like the progenitors of domestic horses.
    Indeed, even today, centuries after the near total extinction of Asian lions, the lion is still an important symbol in Middle-Eastern and other Asian cultures.

    Bottom lion, I don't buy that argument. Either its proponents prove that Asian wild horse species evolved a different strategy for evading feline predators or they were domesticated in an area where they never encountered lions or tigers (yes, tigers occurred there, too), or maybe the kicking was just bred out of domestic horses.
    Lions were also native to Europe, were they not? Didn't Alexander the Great himself go lion hunting in Greece? He most certainly is shown wearing lion skin caps on his commemorative coinage. Ancient Persians are also often shown wearing lion hides in Roman artwork. Ancient Chinese literature is rife with references to tigers and lions. To this day the stone lion statue is a common guardian figure outside of temple halls.

    In either case they raises even more interesting questions about the ancient Asian lions (before being hunted into extinction) and their interactions with wild horses. I wonder how often they viewed the latter as prey.

    Quote Originally Posted by athanaric View Post
    Bottom lion
    Hmm...bottom line...was this a typo or an intentional pun?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclops View Post
    Once again its the question of what is domestic? what is tame?
    You're right, it's not so black and white. It seems more and more like a grey area to me after seeing some rather traditionally hostile species being so easily tamed and trained since birth (or just a young age) to respect and even obey humans. It seems much harder to do this if they've spent a considerable amount of their formative years as feral creatures in the wild, though.

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    Default Re: Horses were domesticated, zebras, not so much

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclops View Post
    IIRC the pig was domesticated in Papua/new guinea and maybe Mesopotamia independently, but that serves to illustrate your point that domestication usually occurs once, and then spreads from that event.

    There's possibilities about dogs as they are as fecund as hell. The morphological changes of course show up after domestication 9on top of the whole question of what is domestic? can a nomad tribe domesticate animals if they don't have a domus? What is tame? etc etc) and probably bred back to the wolf population continuously as they do to this day. If they were ever domesticated independently they would've crossbred ASAP, so that's one we will probably never know. My guess is you're bang on with this as with the other animals minus cow and pig.



    Once again its the question of what is domestic? what is tame? I bet you could breed a more docile zebra fit for herding, but its a whole other kettle of fish for draught animals and another again for riding. Apparently cheetahs have the necessary cooperative hunting skills plus that certain trans species je ne sais quo to make them suitable hunting cats like greyhounds. Lions not so much: despite being cooperative hunters they don't play as well with humans. As you say they might prove tractable after many generations, I'm thinking more than a human lifetime, even an armour-clad human.

    As a side note orcas or killer whales show promise in this regard. I have mentioned the killer whales of Eden (the Australian fishing town, not the mythic garden): basically a pod of killers adopted a family of whalers and would assist them in hunting migrating whales to extinction over 50-70 years. When the whales went extinct/stopped showing up the family went broke. It all ended sadly: there was a last voyage, a lucky sighting of a whale, a kill, and then when the boat headed home the last killer whale showed up for its fee (they always received the tongue of the hunted whale). The tongue for whatever reason was not forthcoming and the killer decided to help himself...and was harpooned for his trouble.

    So apparently some killer whales have the cooperative hunting skills and that little bit of magic to make them suitable to be used as hunting companions by humans.
    From what I figure, the domestication is done when the desired traits have been bred into the animals. That usually takes a few generations, and is pretty dependent on what your threshold for success is. More selective breeding after that is of course possible and even the norm, though most people wouldn't call it domestication unless you started with a wild animal; that's mostly semantics though. Taming is quite a different process, involving training a wild animal, and while logistically much simpler (no need to go through breeding cycles) its also a lot more limited in what it can accomplish.
    Interbreeding with wild population is also something to take into account. Whether the resulting animal is domesticated depends on how you want to define it, though the resulting offspring is usually still more pliable to humans then a pure wild animal, and chances are the "wild" traits that were originally domesticated out and reintroduced would be bred out again over the years, as again, the animal is still being selectively bred after domestication proper.

    Theoretically you could domesticate practically anything, but in practice the logistics involved are quite limiting. A lion that'll kill a man as easy as looking at him is obviously less well suited then a cheetha, which is again less suited then a herbivore that won't cost an arm and a leg to feed everyday. That being said, both are theoretically possible if you have the resources and dedication to go about it for long enough (which is admittedly a pretty big assumption, and the primary limitation on the process). Aquatic animals come with additional challenges, mostly because without modern amenities like aquariums, telling them who to breed with is practically impossible.
    Most domesticated animals also wouldn't be especially useful. A horse can do a lot of useful things for practically anyone (that doesn't have access to an internal combustion engine), and isn't cripplingly expensive to maintain, but very few people could ever afford a pet domestic lion, and fewer still would actually have something productive to do with it. Hence we see more pigs and cats as opposed to domestic panda bears (though if you ever go about that one, I think there might be some money in it).

    Also worth noting is that sometimes the domestication doesn't entirely "take". Pigs are a good example of this; when they break out of their pens and start going feral, they can undergo an epigenetic shift which over the course of just a few weeks, turns them into something a lot more similar to their wild cousins both morphologically (increased hair, tusk and muscle growth...) and behaviorally. It would seem their domestication switched off a few genes that under the right conditions switch right back on.
    A humble equine consul in service to the people of Rome.

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    Default Re: Horses were domesticated, zebras, not so much

    Quote Originally Posted by Marius Marich View Post
    I said it before and I will say it again.

    Rams.
    We should have bred rams for cavalry purposes;

    http://i.imgur.com/dR4zhkT.jpg
    http://huntdoublediamond.com/wp-cont...8934369164.jpg
    How about great deer cavalry then?

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    Default Re: Horses were domesticated, zebras, not so much


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    Default Re: Horses were domesticated, zebras, not so much

    Quote Originally Posted by Marius Marich View Post
    Always wanted to ride a reindeer, especially one with a bright red nose.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caligula's_Horse View Post
    Also worth noting is that sometimes the domestication doesn't entirely "take". Pigs are a good example of this; when they break out of their pens and start going feral, they can undergo an epigenetic shift which over the course of just a few weeks, turns them into something a lot more similar to their wild cousins both morphologically (increased hair, tusk and muscle growth...) and behaviorally. It would seem their domestication switched off a few genes that under the right conditions switch right back on.
    Nature is truly incredible, how animals are able to adapt to their environment so thoroughly through natural selection of certain favorable genes over others. Hell, even plants should be included in that assessment.

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    Default Re: Horses were domesticated, zebras, not so much

    Quote Originally Posted by Caligula's_Horse View Post
    From what I figure, the domestication is done when the desired traits have been bred into the animals. That usually takes a few generations, and is pretty dependent on what your threshold for success is. More selective breeding after that is of course possible and even the norm, though most people wouldn't call it domestication unless you started with a wild animal; that's mostly semantics though. Taming is quite a different process, involving training a wild animal, and while logistically much simpler (no need to go through breeding cycles) its also a lot more limited in what it can accomplish.
    Interbreeding with wild population is also something to take into account. Whether the resulting animal is domesticated depends on how you want to define it, though the resulting offspring is usually still more pliable to humans then a pure wild animal, and chances are the "wild" traits that were originally domesticated out and reintroduced would be bred out again over the years, as again, the animal is still being selectively bred after domestication proper.
    Good definition, its broad but covers the bases. I guess there are shades of domestication (ie house broken/inside cats, outside cats, guard dog, lap dog, riding horse Lipizzaner) but so long as an animal has a sophisticated enough intelligence you could break at least one, and breed for more breakable animals.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caligula's_Horse View Post
    Theoretically you could domesticate practically anything, but in practice the logistics involved are quite limiting. A lion that'll kill a man as easy as looking at him is obviously less well suited then a cheetha, which is again less suited then a herbivore that won't cost an arm and a leg to feed everyday. That being said, both are theoretically possible if you have the resources and dedication to go about it for long enough (which is admittedly a pretty big assumption, and the primary limitation on the process).
    Very true. I'm guessing its more breeding to make a lion or leopard tractable, and breeding reliable version of it where nearly all animals bred would be tractable would mean changing the genes of a leopard much more than your cheetah (which I believe the Egyptian kings used as hunting beats: pure awesome).

    Quote Originally Posted by Caligula's_Horse View Post
    Aquatic animals come with additional challenges, mostly because without modern amenities like aquariums, telling them who to breed with is practically impossible.
    This is an interesting point raised in the dog domestication book I glanced at recently (can't remember the name dammit). in nomad societies where dogs were domesticate there's no control on breeding: the DNA keeps getting pooled back with the broader wolf DNA (canine estrus being compelling as anyone with a knows). There's no fences in the Palaeolithic, or leashes, but slowly slowly the friendlier wolves benefit from human interaction (and vice versa, a whole other theory the author raises about inter-species communication and the development of language) and the population becomes distinct in the last 10,000years after possibly 100,000 years of interaction (that number was debatable in my mind. I think he pushes out wolf/man cooperation to support the language theory as there's no hard evidence).

    My own feeling is wolves become dogs when humans become less nomadic and have time to separate populations, but I realise I'm in a minority on that one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caligula's_Horse View Post
    Most domesticated animals also wouldn't be especially useful. A horse can do a lot of useful things for practically anyone (that doesn't have access to an internal combustion engine), and isn't cripplingly expensive to maintain, but very few people could ever afford a pet domestic lion, and fewer still would actually have something productive to do with it. Hence we see more pigs and cats as opposed to domestic panda bears (though if you ever go about that one, I think there might be some money in it).
    1. Breed pandas
    2. teach them domestic chores
    3. ????
    4. profit! or jail time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caligula's_Horse View Post
    Also worth noting is that sometimes the domestication doesn't entirely "take". Pigs are a good example of this; when they break out of their pens and start going feral, they can undergo an epigenetic shift which over the course of just a few weeks, turns them into something a lot more similar to their wild cousins both morphologically (increased hair, tusk and muscle growth...) and behaviorally. It would seem their domestication switched off a few genes that under the right conditions switch right back on .
    Yep cats too. We have a substantial feral cat problem in Australia (feral pigs too) and the cute widdle pussykins become massive once off the reservation. There was a feral cat killed in Gippsland a metre long (not including the tail)- a freak example but ferals are notoriously huge, typically twice the size of a domestic cat. My cousin kept Selukis, (really tall feathery Persian greyhounds) and they would take massive feral cats and it took both of them to take a cat down (nasty grizzly hunting that). Feral dogs OTOH in Australia are extremely un-wolflike, with much less persistent colonies, and horrible inefficient hunting strategies (feral dogs are known for worrying stock and inflicting nasty injuries apparently for recreation, eating only a small proportion of their kills).
    Jatte lambastes Calico Rat

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    Default Re: Horses were domesticated, zebras, not so much

    I heard Zebra does not taste too good, perhaps why.
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    Default Re: Horses were domesticated, zebras, not so much

    Quote Originally Posted by hellheaven1987 View Post
    I heard Zebra does not taste too good, perhaps why.
    Only one way to find out.

    Seriously, though, there are Central Asian nomadic cultures which are notorious for eating horse meat (which, given their steppe lifestyle and that horses were the most abundant form of livestock available to them, makes plenty of sense). Hell, don't the French even eat horse on occasion?

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    Default Re: Horses were domesticated, zebras, not so much

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    there are Central Asian nomadic cultures which are notorious for eating horse meat
    Well, they are complete roaming herbivores thus their meat must not only be tasty but healthy as well.
    I see no issues with eating horses apart from their value.

    A year ago there was a really big panic and scare about some Romanian meat containing traces of horse meat being sold in the EU.

    I was like;

    "...so?"

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    Default Re: Horses were domesticated, zebras, not so much

    Quote Originally Posted by Marius Marich View Post
    Well, they are complete roaming herbivores thus their meat must not only be tasty but healthy as well.
    I see no issues with eating horses apart from their value.

    A year ago there was a really big panic and scare about some Romanian meat containing traces of horse meat being sold in the EU.

    I was like;

    "...so?"
    Yeah, well, I'm not too ashamed to admit it to potential horse fanatics here, but when I was a US Peace Corps volunteer in Kyrgyzstan, I was offered horse meat by the locals once and did have a bite. I have to say, wasn't that bad. Personally, I wouldn't go out looking to buy it.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Horses were domesticated, zebras, not so much

    Jarred Diamond writes is his book "Guns, germs and steel" that it has been attempted in recent modern times (after WW2) to domesticate the zebra and the African buffalo without success, in spite of using the best practices available.

    His point is some species simply do not have what it takes to be domesticated, meaning they do not have an adequate set of genes which to allow suitable individuals to be selected for further breeding.

    In the same time, some animals do have the right set of genes, even though they were only domesticated in modern times, just because the humans wanted to spend resources on the process. The Soviet scientists have managed to domesticate the Siberian red fox. An interesting side effect of domestication is foxes are now barking, wag their tails, some of them have the fur colored in various patches or spots like that of the dogs and some individuals have tails which curl, again like the dog tails.

    The thing is it took the Soviet Scientists some 30 years to achieve those results, with all the expenses paid by the state. Just like in the case of domesticating the rabbits, it took a combination of the right set of genes and somebody with nothing better to do for a very long time.
    IN PATROCINIVM SVB MareNostrum

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