Are humans domesticated animals?

7 Answers

Don Barzini Profile
Don Barzini answered

Most are, yes.

Dumb Goat Profile
Dumb Goat answered

Good question! It is such question that really brings into light the notions of "domestication" or the concept of humans as an apex predator in general.

Domestication, like many things, has a lot of gray area rather than something that is set in stone. It is better to approach this from an angle of identifying domestication traits.

Domestication is described as the mutual relationship between humans and other, particularly animal, species. There are traits that are common throughout these domesticated species when compared to their wild ancestors. One thing I think must be considered is that domestication is regarded as mutual, which I think really keys into our answer here.

Humans do carry an astounding amount of domesticated traits. For example, our wellbeing is much more focused on social matters rather than might, which is also the case in domesticated animals compared to wild relatives. It is this lack of the need for aggression that drives the development of neoteny (the term for retaining juvenile features) in a species. Having less need for aggression will naturally cause for the disappearance of traits that assist in that area, and increase more social traits due to more reliance on that instead. For example, wild kittens meow and purr, but they stop this behavior as adults. In domestic cats, however, they continue to use both throughout their life for social reasons. Humans also retain more childlike features in relation to relatives or ancestors, such as bigger heads, larger eyes, flatter faces, smaller brow ridges, and keeping the ability to digest lactose, which is actually something unique to our species.

This is all done as a result of the need for less aggressive specimen, both in animal and human domestication. In domestication, the species is moved towards social reliance rather than brute force, so it requires more docile, agreeable members to function. In animals, we domesticate them towards this in order to keep them better organized and disciplined to us--More focused on the group. Really, the question comes down to the assumption that domestication entails human action on another species. In humans, the introduction of agriculture is what caused the shift between aggression and social order. Agriculture is what birthed society as we know it. We had to be more group focused, disciplined, and organized. Because of this, I will remind you to the earlier point of domestication being mutual. What we know as agriculture is the linking factor -- What shows us that we had been domesticated by other species as much as we domesticated them.

Darik Majoren Profile
Darik Majoren answered

We have evolved from a social pack (group) oriented animal to the civil society we are now . . . For the most part.

We do maintain much of inherited instincts although they are much more subconscious in our everyday life. The animal instinct toward survival is still very much alive in us . . . But, domesticated never the less.

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Perry Nuttal
Perry Nuttal commented
If we evolved from a social pack group, what happened to mitochondrial eve?
Darik Majoren
Darik Majoren commented
"So if we are not driving by our animal instinct and we are animals, what are we driving by? " - I'm unsure this question was relevant . . I happen to believe we are very much driven by subconscious instincts. We suppress a great many things that come into our brains every minute . . .
I actually said as much here - "We do maintain much of inherited instincts although they are much more subconscious in our everyday life. The animal instinct toward survival is still very much alive in us".
The idea that "Driven" is proportioned to the amount of "Control" we cognitively enforce . . . There is an excellent article about a man who's surgery to remove a tumor, also incapacitated his Suppression towards raw desire . . . In a sense it removed a part of his brain that acted as a filter for many of those thoughts people may have that they never act upon.
Darik Majoren
Darik Majoren commented
"If we evolved from a social pack group, what happened to mitochondrial eve?"
I could post the many parts to this informative article but it is too long and a worthy read:
James Laughlin Profile
James Laughlin answered

Philosophers--especially those who work in the field of Philosophy of Mind--have for long been arguing that the "human-animal" dichotomy is futile. If at all one must posit a difference, they suggest using the "humans-non human animals" dichotomy. Non human animals have also been shown to indulge in conscious thinking, which for long has been the criterion for intelligent life. However, conscious thinking is itself a controversial topic and is defined differently in different fields. Even "social animals" is inaccurate; almost all animals are social. Sociologists, too, have begun to adopt the term non-human animals of late, which is a significant development (See: Sociology: The Essentials).

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