Tech UPTechnologyHas the human being domesticated himself?

Has the human being domesticated himself?

Domestication’ is a term that we inevitably associate with the animal race. According to one of the definitions of the Royal Spanish Academy, this is defined as a process by which the fierce and wild animal is reduced, accustomed to the sight and company of man. However, the second and last of the descriptions goes like this: ” Make someone who is not treatable, moderate the harshness of character .”

In this sense, we could apply these specifics to the entire process of human evolution . The self- domestication of people is one of the hypotheses that has been considered to explain this mode of adaptation of the species, in which humans themselves would have selected only those subjects who had a more social behavior .

According to a study by the University of Barcelona, there is genetic evidence of this evolutionary process.

The project has been based on the comparison of the human genome with that of other domesticated species, as well as that of their wild equivalents . The main objective has been to find the genetic coincidences related to the term of domestication, such as, for example, a more subtle physiognomy or docility.

The results of these tests reveal a significant number of genomes related to the submission to a coincidental social behavior between humans and animals , but not with their respective savages (such as Neanderthal man, in the case of people).

With all this, the idea of human self-domestication is reinforced, since the conclusions drawn from the research help to reveal information about one of the aspects that reinforce the human condition, the social instinct .

Wild ancestors and relatives

The particular aspect of this theory is that, in the domestication process, no other species would have intervened . Some hypotheses suggest that this is the case of humans and the bonobo primate , also known as the pygmy chimpanzee, since they would have been the ones to tame themselves.

The current study has thus focused on finding biological evidence that reinforces this theory of self-domestication, and therefore has used the genetic comparison of current homo sapiens with that of their respective wild ancestors, in this case, the Neanderthal and even, the man from Denisova . The gene list was then compared with the genome of some domestic animals and that of their wild relatives, such as dogs for wolves and oxen for bison.

The research director, Cedric Boeckx, explains that “one of the reasons that led scientists to say that humans domesticated themselves lies in behavior: modern humans are more docile and tolerant, like domestic species, and our Cooperative abilities and social behavior are essential features of modern cognition ”.

To confirm the results and rule out random matches, the researchers used other statistical measures , such as control groups. The genes of modern humans were also compared to the great ape genome , but they were unrelated. According to Boeckx, “there seems to be a ‘special’ interaction between humans and domestic animals, which we see as evidence of self-domestication.”

The researchers point out that more experiments are still needed to find out which anatomical, cognitive and behavioral traits are related to these genes , since for the moment, what has been achieved is to reduce the set of genes that must be analyzed experimentally.

Theofanopoulou, C .; Gastaldon, S .; O’Rourke, T .; Samuels, BD; Messner, A .; Tiago Martins, PT; Delogu, F .; Alamri, S., and Boeckx, C. ” Self-domestication in Homo sapiens: insights from comparative genomics “. PLOS ONE, October 2017. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0185306

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