Ice Age Adaptations (02:40)
Humans were not always the dominant species on Earth; other mammals were better adapted for survival. In Britain around 12,000 B.C., hunter-gatherers learned to trap small animals and harness fire to protect against wolves and process food.
Domesticating Dogs (01:31)
Around 15,000 years ago, wolves overcame their natural fear to feed on human food scraps. The two species formed a hunting alliance. Americans spend over $30 billion on their pets annually.
In Europe in 5000 B.C., humans transitioned from hunter-gatherers to farmers. Domesticating sheep, goats, and pigs gave us power over life. Selective breeding increased docility and provided a ready food source.
Domesticating Horses (03:32)
Horses multiplied human strength and speed, and provided an advantage in war. Genghis Khan commanded a cavalry of 50,000 Mongols attacking China in 1215 A.D. Learn about the role of horses in Mongolian culture and empire building.
Domesticating Camels (02:45)
On the Arabian Peninsula in 610 A.D., camels allowed humans to cross deserts on trade routes. They can drink 40 gallons of water, which lasts them 17 days. Learn about their role in the spread of Islam.
Silk Road (03:06)
The silk worm spins a protein fiber into a continuous thread stronger than steel. Silk was worth its weight in gold to the Romans in 166 A.D. Production remained a Chinese state secret for centuries, but the two empires engaged in trade.
Animals and Disease (03:06)
Domesticating livestock exposed humans to more pathogens. Rats migrated along the Silk Road from East Asia to Europe. They carried fleas with bacteria causing the bubonic plague.
Animals in Science (02:17)
In Britain in 1859, Charles Darwin developed the Theory of Evolution by studying diverse species. Many medical breakthroughs, such as the discovery of insulin, came from research relating to animals. (Credits)
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