[ExI] Corvids at play

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Thu Sep 16 17:35:45 UTC 2010

On Thu, Sep 16, 2010 at 4:41 AM,  Gregory Jones <spike66 at att.net> wrote:

> In Jared Diamond's Guns Germs and Steel, he goes into a very interesting chapter on how some species of beast can be domesticated and others cannot.? The most successful domesticated beast may be horses, yet the closely related zebras do not domesticate readily.

There is good reason.  Or remote ancestor hunted Zebra for perhaps 2
million years.  That's enough generations for fear of the upright two
legs predator to be wired in.  Horses were a different matter, we
didn't hunt them long.

> In the bird world it seems that seagulls for some odd reason just are naturally comfortable with humans.

Perhaps because they are said to taste awful.  :-)

>Corvids are next, pretty close to gulls.? Those two?groups seem to be kind of special in regards to how they interact with humans.? Parrots I suppose could be added in with those two.?

Social animals seem to have an advantage.

> I don't know why species differ so much from each other?with respect to their ability to interact with humans.? Diamond made an interesting comment in GGnS.? No new?beast species has been domesticated in the past 3000 yrs.?

That doesn't seem right.  The Russians domesticated foxes into
something much like dogs in the last 50 years.  I don't know that
hawks are exactly considered domesticated, but the Harris Hawk became
the raptor of choice for falconry all over the world in the last
couple of decades.

With what we now know about the genetics of domestication, I think we
could do it with just about any animal.  Of course it's a big hard to
imagining anyone wanting a domesticated Tasmanian Devil.


PS  One other, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring-tailed_Cat self
domesticates.  I.e., if you have a cabin where they live, they will
just move in with you and catch mice.  "The ringtail is said to be
easily tamed, and can make an affectionate pet and effective mouser"

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