Solving the domestication puzzle

Like I suspected, dogs were domesticated similar to that of macaques. Not exactly but still precise enough to draw parallels to. When it comes to owned dogs straying at will, it could be due to owner negligence but let’s not forget that it gets complicated by factors like ecology (most stray dog incidents in Europe occur in forests and farms and dogs that do stray here tend to come from greener pastures) and that not all owned dogs are that socialised to people.

If a dog’s made to live outside of the home for several hours, then it’ll be left to its own devices. Not all dog owners bother or have the time to train dogs but that doesn’t make them negligent either. Similar goes for cats. It could be me extrapolating from what I’ve read called ‘Survey For Semi-Tame Colonies of Macaques in Thailand‘ where those crop-raiding episodes are and parallel to reports of dogs straying and killing animals (cats to a comparable extent).

(There’s also the study Temple and Pet Macaques in Thailand which can be helpful for understanding cat and dog domestication.)

Not that goats, sheep and pigs never did similar things, though not very often. Not that cat, dog and macaque meat consumption never existed. Macaque meat‘s noted in Indonesia as well as Thailand and any monkey can be made into bushmeat in DRC, Cameroon and Ghana. Cat meat’s present in Vietnam, Cameroon, Ghana, DRC and Cote d’Ivoire. Dog meat’s noted in Vietnam, The Philippines, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire and Nigeria.

It seems macaque, dog and cat domestication’s not that straightforward and clear given such varying circumstances and pet monkeys have been noted since the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and 18th  century. (The monkeys most likely to be habituated to and domesticated by humans are macaques.) If macaques are believed to have been imported to Europe, it explains why there’s a macaque population in the Iberian peninsula.

Predictably for cats as they came from Africa to Rome and parsimoniously for dogs if they’re believed to come from Asia. Nepal borders India, which in turn borders China which makes sense as the Chinese character for dog forms the basis for words for cat and wolf. (Cat ownership would’ve been a primarily African phenomenon before, not just because of the Ancient Egyptians but that Akans and Bamilekes are believed to come from Egypt.)

Dogs were said to be domesticated in Southeast Asia, which has a lot of stray and mongrel dogs (positive correlation which Mr Adrian Hillman of Stray Dog View has studied and noted). It’s also the place with any lasting domesticated or at least tamed macaque populations. Even if it’s not common, incidences of tamed, commensal and owned macaques help explain cat and dog domestication.

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