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Should we domesticate bears, lions, and other beasts?

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Posts

  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited March 2010
    Should we domesticate them? There's not really much of a reason to other than to say "Hey check out my pet lion."

    It'd be interesting for someone to give a reason for domestication that was not simply "I wanna pet X!"

    _J_ on
  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited March 2010
    Z0re wrote: »
    Okay, "new species" no but really how often does a new species arise anyways?

    As often as God gets bored.

    _J_ on
  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Z0re wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    That pigeon isn't a new species though, just one that's adapted to its surroundings.

    Okay, "new species" no but really how often does a new species arise anyways? I was under the impression new species came about because their progenitors adapted to new environments to the point they were incompatible with their ancestors? If I'm wrong I retract my point.

    No, not "new species", same as any other rock pigeon. Maybe in a thousand years or so. But that's not the point. Killing of species through neglect/apathy can lead to horrible consequences for people.

    Quid on
  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I think I have several new species of cockroach in my apartment due to all the toxins and asbestos in there

    Paladin on
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  • Z0reZ0re Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Quid wrote: »
    Z0re wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    That pigeon isn't a new species though, just one that's adapted to its surroundings.

    Okay, "new species" no but really how often does a new species arise anyways? I was under the impression new species came about because their progenitors adapted to new environments to the point they were incompatible with their ancestors? If I'm wrong I retract my point.

    No, not "new species", same as any other rock pigeon. Maybe in a thousand years or so. But that's not the point. Killing of species through neglect/apathy can lead to horrible consequences for people.

    Thats true and there are certainly things we don't understand about how some ecological systems work as evidenced by some of the major disasters or near disasters of letting certain species die off in the past. But how far do you go with that. Again Pandas are at the point its almost infeasible to continue to support them, they just seem determined to die off despite one of the absolute best anti-endangerment movements (mostly for the cute factor). Should we focus on all species or only on species who's survival positively impacts humans?

    Z0re on
  • PerpetualPerpetual Registered User
    edited March 2010
    Quid wrote: »
    Z0re wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    That pigeon isn't a new species though, just one that's adapted to its surroundings.

    Okay, "new species" no but really how often does a new species arise anyways? I was under the impression new species came about because their progenitors adapted to new environments to the point they were incompatible with their ancestors? If I'm wrong I retract my point.

    No, not "new species", same as any other rock pigeon. Maybe in a thousand years or so. But that's not the point. Killing of species through neglect/apathy can lead to horrible consequences for people.

    What kinds of "horrible consequences" have we faced so far due to species becoming extinct?

    Perpetual on
  • Alfred J. KwakAlfred J. Kwak Registered User
    edited March 2010
    Personally, I find pet animals of any wild species awesome. Maybe not of the man-eating kind, though. I firmly believe my cats would happily kill me if they had the chance.

    Also, pet rhino:

    Alfred J. Kwak on
  • GoodOmensGoodOmens Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Qingu wrote: »
    GoodOmens wrote: »
    I think the greater question is can we domesticate these animals? Remember, domestication is different than taming. They can be tamed, at least certain individual bears and such. Domestication requires a generations-long effort to fundamentally change the nature of the species.

    We domesticated certain species of foxes within 50 years of selective breeding. They started having droopy ears like dogs and became affectionate towards humans.

    I'm sure, in the hypothetical sci-fi future that this thread takes place in, that we'd be able to go even further through genetic engineering.

    I think the difference between foxes and, say, bears is rather significant. Bears breed slowly, grow slowly, require a massive amount of food (though it is nice that they'll eat just about anything) and are notably aggressive. Foxes are not known for attacking humans and require much less resources to produce a grown animal.

    I'm also thinking that humans have had something on the order of 10,000 years working on domesticating animals. People have tried bears, and failed, due to their nature. They don't have the traits that we need them to have. Of course, my thinking here is heavily influenced by Jared Diamond, and IANAevolutionarybiologist.

    Now, I'll admit that I'm not thinking here of direct genetic manipulation, rather the slow genetic shift through selective breeding. If we get to the point where genes can be manipulated like in that one episode of the Jetsons, then all bets are off.

    GoodOmens on
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  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Z0re wrote: »
    Doesn't the question sort of come down to why we try to save these old species? Species arise to fill ecological niches and die out when they are out competed or their habitat is destroyed. Shouldn't we be looking more at the species that are arising from the new habitats we form instead of artificially preserving old ones? Species have gone extinct in droves for reasons other than humanity, and other have risen because of humanity creating environments for them. Do we have some obligation to let things like, pandas for instance, live?
    Because these aren't ordinary extinction events.

    All evidence points to us being in the midst of a mass extinction event. There's only been like six of these in the entire history of our world, and they are ordinarily caused by things like asteroids plowing into the Earth.

    And when I say we're "in the midst of a mass extinction event," what I really mean is "we are causing a mass extinction event. Our activities, in terms of biodiversity, are equivalent to a world-destroying asteroid.

    I agree that extinctions are a normal part of the "creative destruction" of evolution. However, I also think the products of evolution are inherently valuable and interesting, and when you start getting into situations where like half of all mammal species are going extinct, I think a discussion of moral culpability is in order.

    Qingu on
  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Elki wrote: »
    Z0re wrote: »
    Doesn't the question sort of come down to why we try to save these old species? Species arise to fill ecological niches and die out when they are out competed or their habitat is destroyed. Shouldn't we be looking more at the species that are arising from the new habitats we form instead of artificially preserving old ones? Species have gone extinct in droves for reasons other than humanity, and other have risen because of humanity creating environments for them. Do we have some obligation to let things like, pandas for instance, live?

    Wait, what? The city?
    Assembly%20Robot.jpg

    Qingu on
  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    _J_ wrote: »
    Should we domesticate them? There's not really much of a reason to other than to say "Hey check out my pet lion."

    It'd be interesting for someone to give a reason for domestication that was not simply "I wanna pet X!"
    To save endangered species from extinction by changing their genetic material so that they can more easily live amongst us.

    Qingu on
  • Orochi_RockmanOrochi_Rockman __BANNED USERS
    edited March 2010
    Why among us instead of on a perserve? It costs a lot of money to feed and care for these kinds of animals. Not many people can afford such eccentricities.

    Orochi_Rockman on
  • Jealous DevaJealous Deva Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    GoodOmens wrote: »
    I think the difference between foxes and, say, bears is rather significant. Bears breed slowly, grow slowly, require a massive amount of food (though it is nice that they'll eat just about anything) and are notably aggressive. Foxes are not known for attacking humans and require much less resources to produce a grown animal.

    I'm also thinking that humans have had something on the order of 10,000 years working on domesticating animals. People have tried bears, and failed, due to their nature. They don't have the traits that we need them to have. Of course, my thinking here is heavily influenced by Jared Diamond, and IANAevolutionarybiologist.


    Right, for the most part the reason that no one ever domesticated, say, rhinos, is not because no one ever looked at a rhinocerous and said "damn that would be a good thing to get to pull a plow", but rather that they had the tendancy to kill people for trying shit like that and horses didn't. Early domestic animals were probably somewhat like Indian Elephants are now, not really raised by people but capable of being trained to perform tasks with a minimal amount of complaint by someone who knows what they are doing.


    Most of the reason there haven't really been any new domestications in the last few centuries is because the low hanging fruit has been done already.

    Jealous Deva on
  • ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I don't know if it has been mentioned, but Qingu you need to clarify some things in the OP...

    we didn't really "figure out" how to domesticate dogs. The most widely accepted theory on their domestication places them first on the outskirts of societies, slowly becoming used to humans. humans noticed the benefits of them being around- i.e. a food source you didn't have to really keep an eye on.

    Dogs initially were kept around as free-roaming cattle essentially. It wasn't until AFTER we had affected them to the point that pedomorphy (retaining child-like aspects in adult hood; barking, floppy ears, droopy tail, VERY playful nature) became common because those animals were more likely to form bonds with people (due to being more trusting and playful, as well as retaining a 'juvenile' mindset their entire lives) that we really incorporated them into our society.

    To tie this back in- there is really no point to domesticating bears, lions, and the like. We don't need them for food, they would provide marginal protection and benefits, and the process (while not 'long', the russian silver fox project saw results in 50 years) is VERy time-consuming.

    Long story short, you would need to get a population of bears, tigers, or what have you, select the most docile ones, breed them together and then keep this technique of "breed the nice ones" going for a LONG time. Since bears, lions, and other large mammals reach sexual maturity later then say, foxes and dogs, this process would take a while to develop the pedomorphy I mentioned earlier. (Also, pedomorphy seems to be a product of SLIGHT, but continuous, inbreeding but results are inconclusive.)

    I just don't see the point, and it really isn't worth the effort. Dogs work out so well because they are SOCIAL animals. They NEED a pack (i.e. their human family) or they get depressed. Lions could work out as well, but again why? The risks in this case are immediate, obvious, and frankly not worth it.

    Arch on
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