Where are we now?

The wildlife of our bodies:

I thought it was interesting how Dunn elaborated on the mutualistic relationship we had with cows. By allowing us the milk and preventing others from their grass we used each other to survive and thrive. I had no idea about the past relationship between humans and cows and how much they may have altered our genetics.  I think it is also interesting to see how our personalities were affected by this relationship and vs the hunter gatherer relationship. Dunn brings up how obesity has risen in the past decades especially in the United States. I am interested in the idea about how we could all eat the same thing and not look the same based on our genetic predisposition. How much would we alter? Obviously height and build are not able to be altered but if relatively similar people ate exactly the same how much would their bodies still differ? How do we tailor a diet so that it most efficiently helps the person reach a target weight or size and then further to maintain that reached level? He talks about how milk is in the food pyramid still but most adults aren’t actually able to digest it. What are the top substitutes or what should be there instead that would give the same benefits?

“At some point in their association with humans and human habitats, these animals developed closer social or economic bonds with their human hosts than did other commensals inhabiting this niche. These bonds brought them, eventually, into a domestic partnership with humans. The classic example of an animal that likely traveled this pathway to domestication is the dog, whose domestication is thought to have begun when less wary wolves were drawn to human encampments to scavenge on human refuse (Coppinger and Coppinger 2001, Morey 1994)” This was the most interesting in the different pathways to domestication article because of our past discussion about the wolf domestication process and how some see the dog as a dumbed down version of the wolf. It is interesting to think about how much humans have altered the process of domestication and to think about where these truly domesticated animals would be had they not ever made that human contact. Where would traditionally domesticated animals today be without humans?

3 thoughts on “Where are we now?”

  1. It would be interesting to look at the diets of cultures that do not include dairy as a staple in their diet, and compare their genetics to our own. For example, most east Asian dishes include very little milk or milk products, if any at all. I had never thought about this until I couple of years ago, when my family hosted a Thai student for a year. She was not lactose-intolerant, but if she ate the amount of milk or milk-products (cheese, ice cream, yoghurt) as her US peers, she would get sick. She told us she almost never ate dairy at home, because it wasn’t really a big part of her country’s diet. She was able to build up a tolerance, however, over the year that she spent with us, which I find interesting if most of our ability to process lactose is based on genetics.
    I also wonder about the types of milk not from cows- how is our body affected by the milk and cheese from goats and llamas?

  2. The cow-human relationship is pretty intriguing! As for dogs and the broader question you pose about where domesticates would be without humans, what happens when you turn it around? Since we have co-evolved with our domesticates for such a long time, where would we be without them? What insight does Dunn offer as to how they have changed us?

  3. I had some similar thoughts during the reading. I think it takes us back to the discussion we had a few weeks ago about coevolution being a part of the domestication of animals. Like you said, it appears that our relationship with cows altered our genetics, and likewise it definitely changed the evolution of cows. It seems to me to be a prime example in the argument that in domesticating animals, humans have actually just been acting within nature. I know we’ve talked about whether or not what humans have done has been “natural,” and it seems to me that the coevolution of humans and cows demonstrates that actions humans have taken are just as natural as the coevolution between any other two species. It’s all part of nature in my view.

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