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Unformatted text preview: reflect on the meagre additions to our repertoire of domestic species in recent millennia, despite monumental efforts. Of the world’s 14 valuable big domestic mammals, the sole addition within the last millennium has been the reindeer, one of the least valuable of the 14. (In contrast, the five most valuable — the sheep, goat, cow, pig and horse — had all been domesticated repeatedly by 4000 BC.) Long-ongoing efforts by modern livestock breeders to domesticate other large wild mammals have resulted either in virtual failure (for example, eland, elk, moose, musk ox and zebra), or else in ranched animals (deer and American bison) that still cannot be herded and that remain of trivial economic value compared to the five most valuable mammals. Instead, all of the mammalian species that have recently become well established as domesticates (for example, arctic fox, chinchilla, hamster, laboratory rat and rabbit) are small mammals dwarfed in usefulness as well as in size by cows and sheep. Similarly, whereas several wild plants were first domesticated only in modern times (for example, blueberries, macadamia nuts, pecans
706 Some genotypes that used to serve us well as hunter–gatherers now serve us poorly as...
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This note was uploaded on 12/10/2012 for the course HORT 306 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at Purdue.
- Fall '08