Domestication problem unsolved, according to an article in ScienceDaily 21 April 2014. There are many theories about how people began cultivating plants and keeping animals for food, fibre or transport, but the domestication of plants and animals remains a mystery. One unanswered question is: why have so few of all the available plants and animals become domesticated historically? The ScienceDaily article also updates the question by asking: “why haven’t more species of either plants or animals been domesticated in modern times?” One suggestion is that some animals and plants more or less domesticated themselves, rather than humans deliberately capturing wild animals and plants and modifying them by artificial selection. Examples of this process could be cats and dogs. Fiona Marshall, an archaeologist at Washington University, St. Louis explained: “We used to think cats and dogs were real outliers in the animal domestication process because they were attracted to human settlements for food and in some sense domesticated themselves. But new research is showing that other domesticated animals may be more like cats and dogs than we thought. Once animals such as donkeys or cattle were caught, the changes humans sought to make were pretty minimal. Really it just came down to culling a few of the males and breeding all of the females”. A similar idea has been proposed for plants. It is known as the “dump heap hypothesis”.

Kenneth Olsen, a biologist, also at Washington University, St. Louis explained: “The idea is that when people threw out the refuse of plant foods, including seeds, some grew and again set seed, and in this way people inadvertently selected species they were eating that also did well in the disturbed and nutrient-rich environment of the dump heap”. These theories are not proven, but domestication is seen as a major advance in human evolution. The ScienceDaily article concludes: “As a result, people abandoned the hunter-gatherer lifestyle they had successfully followed for 95 percent of human history and turned instead to the new strategies of farming and herding”.


Editorial Comment: Domestication will always remain a mystery to evolutionists, because their unobserved hypothesis about stone age hunter/gatherers taking wild animals/plants and domesticating them suffers from an Eyewitness who denies it ever happened. The Bible tells us there were always animals that were meant to live in close association with man, and plants that were meant to be cultivated. Genesis 1-3, describes some of the animals God created as “livestock”, (“cattle” in older translations) and “beasts of the field”. Man’s first home was not a jungle or wild savannah, but rather a garden, i.e. a place of cultivated plants, which God had prepared for man. When our first parents were expelled from the Garden of Eden they were commanded to make their living by farming, i.e. growing crops for food, and keeping animals for clothing and sacrifice.

If anything, the real history of man’s association with plants and animals is the opposite of man’s ever evolving domestication of other creatures. God originally gave man dominion over the living world, and in the original very good world, all plants and animals would have lived in harmony with man, even if they did not live close to human beings. After man sinned, an event theologians have wisely called the Fall of Man, the world became corrupt, and both human and animal behaviour degenerated, and no doubt some animals became intractable. Later God gave man permission to eat meat, after Noah’s flood, and the land animals plus the fish and birds, were made to fear and avoid people. This was a real hindrance to us domesticating anything from then on.

So the real answer to the question ‘why hasn’t mankind domesticated more creatures in modern times?’ is probably that we didn’t do it ‘naturally’ in the first place, without God kick starting the process by making some creatures just for that purpose. (Ref. agriculture, farming, gardening, cultivation)

Evidence News vol.14, No. 7
7 May 2014
Creation Research Australia