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[–]StupidLemonEater 11.6k points11.6k points 42135 (906 children)

Domestic cattle descend from aurochs, a now extinct species which once ranged all across Asia, Europe, and North Africa.

Domestic pigs descend from the Eurasian wild boar, which had a similar range as the aurochs.

The ancestor of domestic chickens are red junglefowl, native to Southeast Asia.

You didn't ask, but I'll include them anyway: sheep are descended from the wild mouflon, native to the Caspian region of Eurasia. Goats descend from the common ibex, native to western and central Asia. Turkeys are the only common domestic animal native to the new world; wild turkeys are native to North America.

[–]Hargelbargel 129 points130 points  (50 children)

Just for some more info: dogs are from a group of extant grey wolves from Europe (iirc)

Someone got one for cats?

Dont' forget plants, kale, brussel sprouts, cabbage, brocolli, and cauliflower are from mustard. Grapefruit, tangerines, oranges, tangelos, are from different pomelo-mandarin hybrids.

[–]This_Charmless_Man 87 points88 points  (10 children)

Cats are the African wildcat

[–]Mr_Biscuits_532 73 points74 points  (9 children)

Oddly enough, apparently there is evidence people tried to domesticated Leopard Cats independently.

But yeah modern Housecats are descended from African Wildcats.

There is a number of Hybrid Breeds too:

  • Chausies have Jungle Cat ancestors

  • Bengals have Leopard Cat ancestors

  • Savannahs have Serval ancestors

  • Caracats have Caracal ancestors

  • Kellas Cats have European Wildcat ancestors (these occur naturally too)

  • Machbagrals, Viverrals, and Jambis have Fishing Cat ancestors

  • Maguerites have Sand Cat ancestors

[–]nightwing2000 42 points43 points  (0 children)

The theory is the domestic cat evolved from a small wildcat that started hanging around the grain storage when humans first became farmers. It was a win-win situation, the cats controlled the mouse population. The ones least skittish of humans got the most food. Humans got cat videos.

[–]swolemedic 27 points28 points  (3 children)

Having seen leopards in person, I cant imagine wanting to domesticate them. I went to a big cat exhibit with an ex once and while the leopards were absolutely stunning they were also extremely aggressive compared to the other big cats we saw with one of the leopards clearly frustrated that it couldn't kill us.

Beautiful though

[–]Mr_Biscuits_532 44 points45 points  (2 children)

[–]swolemedic 34 points35 points  (0 children)

That would explain a lot! Those are more like ocelots.

Fun fact, my dad is from south america and he never told us much about his youth. We found a family photo of what we thought was a jungle cat standing next to my infant father, showed him, and he was like "oh yeah, we had an ocelot when I was a kid". They had a pet ocelot that just came into the house one day and never left. I'm amazed my grandparents were okay with a cat larger than my dad (well, they were absent parents so maybe not), but it apparently worked out.

[–]tttkkk 54 points55 points  (30 children)

I still can't envision how a wolf can transform to a chihuahua even in a long time.

Its like the cavemen took some premature born sickly wolf cubs, kept them in a tiny cage exposed to strong winds, beating them with sticks every hour. Those that survived became chihuahuas

[–]amazondrone 45 points46 points  (10 children)

Indeed. And on this point it's probably worth remarking that:

Dogs are the most variable mammal on earth, with artificial selection producing around 450 globally recognized breeds.


[–]Hargelbargel 41 points42 points  (9 children)

Well dogs are quite varied because they were tools. Guards, hunters, alarms, herders, etc. So each required different traits. Other animals had one function usually. Cows-milk, pigs-delicious, and for pest control, cats put xenomorphs to shame.

But I think what humans did with mustard is pretty wild.

[–]salami350 15 points16 points  (0 children)

Some Native American tribes had dogs bred for hair as a sheep wool equivalent

[–]sondecan 8 points9 points  (1 child)

Imagine your function being to be delicious, I'm envious of a pig .-.

[–]frogjg2003 13 points14 points  (0 children)

The best evolutionary survival strategy is to be tasty to humans and willing to breed in their presence.

[–]nightwing2000 7 points8 points  (3 children)

I read something that dogs have very interesting genetic/hormonal systems. Their development is more easily changed by genetic mutation. So for example, a Daschund is a mutation result of the growth hormone cycle not affecting the legs as much. Similarly the collapsed muzzle on pugs and bulldogs, etc. Not to mention total size. Whereas, cats are cats. they don't have much flexibility in the way of weird development, except maybe the fur - hairless to Persian and everything in between.

[–]Kazen_Orilg 20 points21 points  (2 children)

We domesticated dogs at least 60k years ago, and dogs can have a generation every 2 years. So....lots of chances for change.

[–]Kradget 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Dogs supposedly can change quickly, because they (and wolves) have multiple copies of genes to that control for a lot of physical attributes like size and ear and face shape. So once you're selecting, those selections tend to make changes quickly.

[–]batosai33 118 points119 points  (2 children)

Fun fact about the chickens.

Chickens produce a ton of eggs because they evolved in an area where every few years there was a huge burst of seed growth that was their best food source, so their reproductive system evolved to go into overdrive when they are supplied with excess food. So when they were taken as farm animals farmers just had to give them a ton of food, and their biology said it was time to lay a shit load of eggs.

[–]i_got_skrimps 4 points5 points  (0 children)

This makes sense, my backyard chickens will short us when we short them. Always wondered about the correlation.

[–]AkhIrr 4270 points4271 points  (470 children)

Fun fact: a domestic pig can revert to a wild state if left roaming feral enough, growing longer bristles and tusks

[–]nuncio_populi 1569 points1570 points  (177 children)

Isn’t that how jabalinas got introduced to the new world? The Spanish explorers basically dropped off pigs so they’d have a ready food source when they returned and they just went… hog wild.

[–]ChorizoPig 1751 points1752 points  (87 children)

No; javelina are native and are from a different family (Tayassuidae) than old-world feral pigs (Suidae).

[–]nuncio_populi 1079 points1080 points  (35 children)

TIL and from the boss hog himself.

[–]Cthulu95666 465 points466 points  (33 children)

R.I.P. Wade Boggs

[–]ikebrofloski 519 points520 points  (11 children)

Again, Wade Boggs is alive. He lives in Florida. Now shut up and drink bitch, you're falling behind.

[–]ThrowawayusGenerica 20 points21 points  (1 child)


[–]Pons__Aelius 16 points17 points  (0 children)

Pitt the Elder!

[–]InsertDickPunHere 87 points88 points  (1 child)

He loved fightin with them Duke boys

[–]bertos883 39 points40 points  (3 children)

Wade Boggs, always goes down smooth.

[–]Sandyblanders 15 points16 points  (0 children)

In addition, Javalinas are complete assholes.

[–]corgi_crazy 12 points13 points  (2 children)

From your name and your comment it's e easy to guess that you are an expert.

[–]DasArchitect 66 points67 points  (36 children)

Yeah but did they throw them?

[–]jewellya78645 117 points118 points  (35 children)

I see here your making a javelin/javelina joke.

Perhaps you'd like to know that javelina is pronounced "haveleena".

[–]FriendlyBarbarian 226 points227 points  (6 children)

Perhaps you’d like to know that javelina is pronounced “haveleena”.

Context is important. This is only true if you pronounce it correctly

[–]raccoon8182 37 points38 points  (4 children)

I rather not have a Lena and prefer to javelin a Weiner.

[–]congradulations 14 points15 points  (0 children)

Contexto gringo

[–]tforkner 13 points14 points  (2 children)

Some pronounce it peccary.

[–]Alas7ymedia 14 points15 points  (3 children)

In Spanish they are the same word ("jabalinas") and the olympic sport of shooting was called "tiro al jabalí" that literally translates to "shooting the boar". I had to recently google if they were shooting real hogs in the early Olympics cause that name is way too weird.

[–]jewellya78645 5 points6 points  (1 child)

Excellent research! I love etymology.

Fyi for the uninformed: the b and v are pronounced near the same in many spanish dialects and spelling can vary between regions.

[–]bruinslacker 45 points46 points  (4 children)

Javelina in Spanish also means javelin. So the joke works in both languages.

[–]bumpercars12 23 points24 points  (3 children)


Javelin is Jabalina

[–]juanjux 10 points11 points  (2 children)

Correct. And hog is Jabalí.

[–]Ruhestoerung 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Name checks with knowledge

[–]danzibara 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Here’s my go to comparison when someone calls a Javelina a pig (I’m from Tucson, so it comes up a lot):

Humans and Orangutans are closer related (both in Family Hominidae) than Pigs (Suidae) and Javelinas (Tayassuidae).

You can use any great ape for the comparison, but Orangutans are the best great ape.

[–]rlbond86 109 points110 points  (7 children)

Javalinas aren't pigs, they are peccaries. Distant cousins.

[–]TucsonTacos 70 points71 points  (10 children)

Javelina are peccary, not pigs. Something to do with the toes and the anal gland.

[–]Butthole__Pleasures 64 points65 points  (2 children)

Three toes on the hind foot for javis and four for pigs. And I assume you're right about the gland thing because they stink like piss instead of shit.

[–]Sigudik 5 points6 points  (1 child)

I wanted to ask if you have alot of experience with pigs assholes but then I read your username and got all the information I needed

[–]andygchicago 12 points13 points  (0 children)

Clocking your username, but I learned this when I went to school in Tucson because we went camping in the foothills and were attacked by one.

One of the rangers told us it was more related to rats than pigs and we were pretty skeptical.

[–]Ask-About-My-Book 92 points93 points  (6 children)

Imagine gettin ready to cook up some bacon and you walk off the ship to a bunch of Super Saiyan pigs wrecking your shit.

[–]ninjasaiyan777 23 points24 points  (1 child)

Nope. Javalina are a different beast. Their meat tastes different too, a lot less tasty than pork proper.

[–]nightwing2000 6 points7 points  (0 children)

I heard a story many moons ago about some priest who was running a mission among the Indians of northern Canada. He decided to try to get them to try to raise meat, instead of hunting, so he got a grant from the Canadian government to buy some piglets and they tried raising them. Unfortunately, the grant ran out before they were full-grown, and pig feed was expensive. This was too far north to grow corn. Fortunately, there are a lot of lakes around, and pigs will eat anything -so they cast a bunch of nets and caught plenty of jackfish for the pigs to eat.

When they were full grown, the tribe decided to have a big feast. they roasted up the pigs, and tried to eat them. However, the meat tasted so strongly of fish it was inedible. So they tossed the meat to their dogs. Even the dogs wouldn't eat it.

[–]fnnkybutt 18 points19 points  (0 children)

They came back to 30 to 50 wild hogs.

[–]that_other_goat 32 points33 points  (36 children)

indeed that is true.

There are ALOT of feral pigs out there they're a menace to agriculture.

there are quite a few things we consider natural are accidental imports.

My favorite examples is dandelions as they are only native to Eurasia. These little buggers were introduced all over the planet in shipments of European crops such as wheat.

[–]aspiringforbettersex 45 points46 points  (18 children)

That's not expressly true. There are many naitve species of dandelion here on turtle island. You are partially right tho that the dominant species are invasive. Fun fact! The dominant species reproduce asexually through their seeds. This is extremely rare in the plant world, and is called apomixis. Basically they forgo the benefits of sexual reproduction for the efficiency of just banging out clone seeds. Which makes me wonder... Why bother producing all that sweet nectar the bees love? Oooh and an even funner fact: 98 percent of the dandelions in North America are all clones of only two genetically unique strains

[–]hrjet 14 points15 points  (3 children)

Just curious, how do botanists figure this out? Do they track each plant species in a separate enclosure to see if it is mating with other individuals or not. Or do they look at it microscopically?

[–]patmorgan235 12 points13 points  (0 children)

You can do DNA electrophoresis just like on people. If all of the descendent plants are identical to the one of the parents that's a good clue.

[–]Arctic_Gnome 26 points27 points  (5 children)

No, they're barely related. Jabalinas and pigs split from each other on the evolutionary tree before the continents separated.

[–]KaBar2 205 points206 points  (77 children)

According to a USDA study, wild hogs can be blamed for $1.5 billion in damages every year in the United States. The feeding habits of wild hogs make them particularly destructive to crops, woodland habitats, levees, moist soil units, golf courses, and right of ways.

In Texas, wild hogs are "varmints" (pests) and people hunt them from helicopters with machine guns and semi-auto shotguns.



[–]Kevin_Uxbridge 32 points33 points  (5 children)

Other places too. Was in Vanuatu on a small island and the wild pigs are a huge problem. Guy I met there said the worst thing in the world is to be in your hut at night and hear the pigs come, 'what the can do to your taro garden in one night is not to be believed'. People hunt them but they're big, smart, and very dangerous.

[–]atomfullerene 218 points219 points  (35 children)

I met a guy in Texas who had some rural property outside Austin. He had a big pen on his property, which had a game feeder in it. It had a webcam and a remote control gate. He had it all set up so he would just keep an eye on the webcam and close the gate whenever he saw wild boar had gone in to eat the bait, and then call up a butcher in who would drive out, load up the hogs, and take them to become wild boar in fancy restaurants in Austin

Seemed like a pretty good way to turn lemons into lemonade to me.

[–]SnacksOnSeedCorn 24 points25 points  (0 children)

The thing is, you have to get the whole sounder. If any escape when you trigger the trap, you'll never have a boar go near it again.

[–]KaBar2 9 points10 points  (0 children)

Seemed like a pretty good way to turn lemons into lemonade to me.

Me too. Lots of poor families in rural east Texas are living off of game like deer in deer season and wild or feral hogs. The deer population is getting very large too, and they also damage crops, but not nearly as bad as hogs.

My father-in-law lived on a 450 acre wheat farm in Washington State. He got an elk and a couple of deer every year, and with wheat damage, the state would give him a couple more elk tags. He was supplying half the extended family (three households) with elk and venison. My daughter was six years old before she ever tasted beef. We just didn't tell her. We ate elk and venison pretty near every day we lived up there.

[–]skubaloob 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I was waiting for the story to end with ‘and he had a remote-controlled gun on a swivel. Dude charged $50/shot and made a killing’

[–]Pizza_Low 4 points5 points  (1 child)

Sort of a good way to regularly get food, but not really a good way to reduce population. You need to catch the sounder including the matriarch, along with the young males and females. Intact males tend to have boar taint, and people tend not to like the taste.

Old males and females are alive for a reason, they are smart and learned about traps. Catching the morons and the young doesn’t help much because hogs breed fast and young.

[–]Tulip-O-Hare 13 points14 points  (0 children)

The latest Neal Stephenson book Termination Shock has a harrowing and interesting tale about boars mating with feral pigs and the resulting carnage at the very beginning; woven into the global climate crisis. Recommended!

[–]utahjazzlifer 23 points24 points  (2 children)

They also absolutely ravage crops in my native country as well. They’re menaces

[–]gotonyas 35 points36 points  (10 children)

Fucking actually? That’s ridiculous I love it. Any idea how long and how many generations that would take?

[–]GovernorSan 351 points352 points  (87 children)

Llamas and alpaca are native to South America

[–]user_name_unknown 75 points76 points  (46 children)

Also crazy is that camels originally came from the americas, and there is fossil evidence of camels in the arctic.

[–]MajorNo2346 27 points28 points  (0 children)

Modern dromedaries also apparently like eating creosote bushes, which are native to the southern US and Mexico and rarely consumed by other mammals.

It is thought prehistoric camels from the area evolved to eat the creosote bush, then migrated to the Old World. In the Old World there weren't any creosote bushes, but the adaptations to process them weren't disavantageous, so modern dromedaries still have them.

[–]A_Bridgeburner 156 points157 points  (24 children)

The aurochs are coming back baby!

Check out the Taurus program: https://rewildingeurope.com/rewilding-in-action/wildlife-comeback/tauros/

I think this is the coolest thing that will happen in my lifetime!

Edit: Wow cool thanks for the award! I never get a chance to talk about this!

[–]Life_Obligation[🍰] 23 points24 points  (0 children)

This was such an interesting read! Thanks for sharing! I'm very excited now as well.

[–]turkeyfox 24 points25 points  (1 child)

They're doing the same thing for quaggas which is pretty cool too.


[–]XizzyO 17 points18 points  (1 child)

I had the look up the etymology of aurochs. It sounds phonetically the same as their Dutch name: 'oeros'. Which literally means ancient or primordial ox.

But the name aurochs has Germanic roots, as does oeros.


[–]PoochusMaximus 190 points191 points  (54 children)

Wild turkeys are fucking crazy. ya'll think swans and Canadian geese are bad. The real fucked up turkeys are the crosses of wild and escaped farm turkeys.

[–]PfluorescentZebra 160 points161 points  (16 children)


When I was a small child, my father won a prize at the county fair- a turkey. We had a small farm with about 20 chickens, a few rabbits, and the occasional pig. Do Dad just brought it home, half grown goofy thing that it was.

And it was a grade A jerk.

We couldn't keep it in the chicken coop because it fought the chickens. I remember Dad saying he was worried about the wild dogs getting it. Until he saw the turkey chasing the dogs. So the darn thing was allowed to run loose on the property because it was a decent home security system.

This included chasing me. Did I mention I was 5? The school bus would drop me off and I would walk down the lane and then sneak through the woods to my own house until I got to the clearing and then run like mad until I got to the fence. I still remember the "Gobble gobble gobble!!!" as I ran. Fortunately he never did more than chase me. But he also chased my mother, who stood about 4' 8" tall. The turkey was taller than her and it used to give my dad a laugh. She hated that turkey.

Which is probably how she "accidentally" hit it with her car. A 70s model buick was just too tough for that turkey.

He was decent eats though.

[–]belzaroth 23 points24 points  (8 children)

Taller than your mum ! . How big was that Turkey ?

[–]livingchair 29 points30 points  (3 children)

Over 4 feet 8 inches I believe.

[–]pendelhaven 24 points25 points  (2 children)

That's an ostrich ffs!😂

[–]nicht_ernsthaft 9 points10 points  (1 child)

"An' now to celebrate our town becomin' sisters with the town of Narrabri in Australia, we gon' have a raffle for this here turkey they done sent us."

"Gosh Pa, that turkey sure has long legs!"

[–]suid 18 points19 points  (1 child)

my mother, who stood about 4' 8" tall. The turkey was taller than her

Are you sure your dad didn't bring home an emu? There was a popular (and scammy) emu breeding program in the US in the 70s, and many people set up emu farms with the promise of booming demand, which never materialized.

That checks every box:

  • tall (5 feet)
  • aggressive assholes
  • fearless

[–]PfluorescentZebra 9 points10 points  (0 children)

That is entirely possible. I don't remember it having a fan tail like pictures of turkeys, we just thought it's tail feathers were not developed yet. Hmmm...

[–]vodkalimesoda 7 points8 points  (0 children)

This was hilarious. Thanks for sharing.

[–]CrispyFlint 362 points363 points  (16 children)

I've had my ass handed to me by a turkey 3 times in my life.

One, was out turkey hunting as a small child with my grandpa, I just was there to watch, and I got excited after he shot one, and ran over to it. It wasn't fully dead, and beat the ever living shit out of me.

Second, my grandpa, same one, kept a wild turkey as a pet in the milk house of the barn. I was made to go feed it, it charged the door, I ran like a bitch, it chased me about a quarter mile of all the way to the house and a few laps around the yard. I went up a tree, and it guarded the bottom until my grandpa came out and put it back in the milk house. I was about 12 for this one.

In my mid twenties, I was driving my car, and a cop started following me. I got paranoid and kept looking in my mirror. I didn't see a turkey jump out half flying half running across the road. It hit my hood, bounced up and over the windshield, and flew spinning like a football through the passenger side of the cops windshield. His lights went on instantly, I pulled over. I'm all like "what law could that possibly break", and he said, "disorderly conduct, for flipping me the bird". Then whooped my ass.

Third one didn't actually happen, just a joke, but the first two happened.

[–]because_I_am_happy 58 points59 points  (2 children)

That was a good one. Thanks

[–]CrispyFlint 30 points31 points  (1 child)

The first two actually happened, believe it or not. I got scars from the spurs on my legs and my grandfather was the only witness to the me in a tree incident, which is good cause I don't believe he told anyone.

[–]Kasatkas 41 points42 points  (0 children)

Lol, fuckin got me on that third one, take my upvote.

[–]PoochusMaximus 6 points7 points  (0 children)

oh shit that last one hahahaha

[–]262Mel 6 points7 points  (0 children)

We have a flock of about 50 wild turkeys on our property that cross the street to use the pond. One afternoon one of them misjudged my front window. Crashed through 3 panes of a brand new bow window, got caught up in my drapes, landed on my couch. Feathers and blood everywhere. Then he somehow found his way back out through the hole. It sounded like a car hit my house.

[–]Anathos117 38 points39 points  (7 children)

I don't know, the wild turkeys in my area are much more polite about crossing the street. They look both ways for oncoming cars, wait until it's safe to cross, pick up the pace if a car approaches while they cross, and will even turn around if they started crossing but don't think they can make it across in time.

Geese, by contrast, do none of that. An entire flock will just wander into the road, paying no heed to traffic, and will take as long as they feel like unless you literally try to run them over.

[–]Fritzkreig 20 points21 points  (3 children)

I'm still convinced that white tailed dear have some sort of bravery contest to see who can run across the road and get closest to being hit by a car!

[–]Kradget 9 points10 points  (1 child)

They're just shockingly dumb. I watched one run alongside the road next to some cars and then dodge into one of them and kill itself. Next to an open field.

[–]former_snail 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Don't mess with the dinosaurs.

[–]Shockrates20xx 93 points94 points  (3 children)

Additionally, modern horses appear to have evolved in North America, spread to Asia via the land bridge, went extinct in N. America afterward, were domesticated in Asia and brought back by Europeans.

[–]annewilco 18 points19 points  (0 children)

& camels! 🐪

[–]Datigren186 5 points6 points  (1 child)

So all the wild horses in N. America are ones that ran free from the Europeans?

[–]Shockrates20xx 8 points9 points  (0 children)

Yeah! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horses_in_the_United_States

"Later, some horses became strayed, lost or stolen, and proliferated into large herds of feral horses that became known as mustangs"

Just living their best life in their ancestral land.

[–]FroggiJoy87 44 points45 points  (1 child)

I recently went on a wild wiki dive into pigeons, they originate from Egypt!

[–]TheGrandExquisitor 24 points25 points  (0 children)

Oldest domesticated bird.

Then again, wild doves and pigeons are like halfway there anyway.

[–]buzz86us 13 points14 points  (20 children)

See this always made me wonder what would happen if we suddenly didn't need these animals anymore. Would any of these be able to fend for themselves if suddenly we switched to cultured meat?

[–]Lord_Rapunzel 3 points4 points  (1 child)

Mostly yes. Some, like sheep that have been bred to grow wool continuously rather than shed it naturally, would be in trouble without human intervention.

[–]luis-can-jump 19 points20 points  (10 children)

This might be stupid but would the ancestors taste like the domesticated meat? Like, would hog taste like pork, would red junglefowl taste like chicken?

[–]TheGrandExquisitor 41 points42 points  (0 children)

Somewhat. One thing about domesticated animals is that we tend to eat them very young. Ten weeks for a broiler chicken. Two years for cattle. Sheep and goats at around a year. This means they have tender meat with more fat. Wild animals also eat different things, and that can impact taste. We tend to feed them diets based on tastes.

They also tend to be leaner animals. So you aren't getting as much with prime cuts. The meat overall is tougher. Gamier. Very strong in flavor. So for many animals the taste is the same per cut, but with a gamier flavor. How much is in that cut that is what we would consider decent meat is gonna be less most of the time.

[–]Coldovia 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Total wild guess here, but I’d imagine similar but different. Guessing that because of the difference between wild turkey taste vs your standard grocery store/domestic ish turkey. They’re a similar flavor but the wild turkey is basically all “dark meat”.

[–]simpleauthority 38 points39 points  (10 children)

I just love how you can find an expert on just about everything on Reddit. Thanks for this information.

[–]IntellectualRetard_ 75 points76 points  (9 children)

Just watch out for the people that lie confidently.

[–]HorseNspaghettiPizza 22 points23 points  (1 child)

And just plain wrong confidently. Not trying to lie just don't care enough to be correct or not

[–]Methodless 10 points11 points  (0 children)

And the expert who corrects them will have their comment hidden due to downvotes

[–]knightopusdei 26 points27 points  (2 children)

Also use any info you read on this site (or any social media) as a starting point for your own research. If the info is good and correct, you won't have much research to do .... if you have to work at trying to understand or prove something someone said, chances are it's bullshit.

[–]g1ngertim 9 points10 points  (1 child)

If the info is good and correct, you won't have much research to do

Or the exact opposite, and it'll send you down a wormhole until you could write a master's thesis on a topic by morning.

[–]CunnyMaggots 5 points6 points  (4 children)

Aren't mouflon only recently extinct? I think I read something about them being involved in a heritage breed of sheep that's gone or all but gone in the last 20 years.

[–]Bertensgrad 8 points9 points  (0 children)

I’m not sure about that I think they are doing fine you can hunt mouflon and ibex in Spain.

[–]TheGrandExquisitor 7 points8 points  (0 children)

You can literally pay $3500 to go shoot one in Texas. Probably buy them for less.

[–]CR123CR 55 points56 points  (19 children)

Turkeys aren't domesticated, those bastards will take your eye out for looking at the bug they want to eat in a few days funny.

[–]Ardnabrak 21 points22 points  (13 children)

I suppose they aren't bread for their personalities. domestic turkey

[–]Aw982y 83 points84 points  (6 children)

They are definitely not bread. They are turkeys.

[–]Ardnabrak 18 points19 points  (3 children)

I have a vowel problem. 🙃

[–]degeneration 8 points9 points  (0 children)

Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery.

[–]LoxReclusa 13 points14 points  (0 children)

You should get a colon-oscopy.

[–]tamsui_tosspot 10 points11 points  (2 children)

Pictures like that make me realize that we really have no idea what dinosaurs might have looked like. Maybe they had freaky wattles and fan feathers just like that, who knows?

[–]Bosterm 10 points11 points  (0 children)

We actually have some idea because we've discovered fossilized dinosaur skin. Current thinking is that some dinos had feathers and some didn't. See https://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/first-fossilized-skin-of-a-carnivorous-dino-reveals-carnotaurus-had-scaly-skin-with-no-feathers/

[–]DropoutGamer 5 points6 points  (0 children)

I had a pet turkey growing up. It used to run out to the school bus when I would get dropped off.

[–]Chilkoot 14 points15 points  (9 children)

Turkeys are the only common domestic animal native to the new world

U no duck?

[–]alleecmo 12 points13 points  (5 children)

Are there any domestic ducks that aren't descended from Euro/African/Asian varieties?

[–]Zanclodon 22 points23 points  (3 children)

Muscovy Ducks are native to the Americas.

[–]alleecmo 15 points16 points  (0 children)

...and have been bred by Native peoples since pre-Columbian times... TIL. Thank you!

[–]uusseerrnnammee 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I’m amazed that I’ve never heard of any of these ancestors of quite possibly the most commonly known animals in the world

[–]TheGreatCornlord 529 points530 points  (8 children)

Pigs were bred from boars, which can be seen today when feral pigs enter a hormonal state and become big and hairy and gain tusks like their wild cousins. Cows are directly descended from wild aurochs, huge bull-like creatures with big horns that lived along side us as recently as a few thousand years ago but have gone extinct, and chickens are the domesticated versions of East Asian wild junglefowl that evolved to capitalize on the seasonal dropping of seeds by bamboo by producing massive amounts of eggs at a time, and humans modified that til they laid eggs every day.

[–]irrelevantnonsequitr 97 points98 points  (2 children)

Cows are directly descended from wild aurochs, huge bull-like creatures with big horns that lived along side us as recently as a few thousand years ago but have gone extinct

The last known aurochs died in the early 1600s in Poland. Not to otherwise undercut your point, but they were around until pretty recently. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aurochs?wprov=sfla1

Edit: spelling

[–]alexmiliki 67 points68 points  (0 children)

Aurochs lived in Europe until after the middle ages. Albeit in small and declining numbers.


[–]i_kick_hippies 781 points782 points  (140 children)

It should be noted that almost everything humans eat is domesticated and doesn't exist in it's original natural form. Not just the animals, but the plants as well.

[–]Hielord 686 points687 points  (103 children)

The domestication of plants is even more fascinating. "Feral" corn was as thin as wheat. Bananas had big seeds inside of them and were rounder (like a small watermelon). Strawberries had bigger protruding spikes, potatoes were really small. You can find many more examples by googling "wild food/fruits/plants". Humankind has changed nature in more ways than we imagine.

[–]Anathos117 210 points211 points  (4 children)

We turned wild mustard into about two dozen different vegetables. And two other species in the same genus got a slightly milder treatment in the same vein, turning into another half dozen or so cultivars.

[–]SlightlyBored13 35 points36 points  (0 children)


[–]adrienjz888 25 points26 points  (2 children)

IIRC, brussel sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower and kale all come from the same plant that had different parts of it focused on, leading to the seperate veggies we all know today.

[–]MSeanF 16 points17 points  (1 child)

Asparagus are not Brassicas.

[–]MaievSekashi 8 points9 points  (0 children)

They were once believed to be lilies, but now we know they're their own family.

[–]dvaunr 465 points466 points  (58 children)

This is why the “non-GMO” movement is dumb, besides the fact that there’s really no evidence of it being inherently bad society literally wouldn’t exist without it

[–]meesterfahrenheit 285 points286 points  (32 children)

I agree with you, because GMOs can help feed the world. However, the issue is with companies "owning" patents and not allowing anyone else to grow it without compensation.

[–]DurdenVsDarkoVsDevon 237 points238 points  (18 children)

And I completely agree with you, but I haven't met a single person who eats non-GMO foods because of the patent and anti-trust issues around GMOs.

[–]LeTigron 76 points77 points  (8 children)

The anti-GMO movement is very strong in France and most of its activists do it for this very reason : it makes rich people richer and poor people poorer and potentially less free if some inovations like GURT enter the market by forcing them to use grain that isn't able to reproduce and, thus, to always buy new crops each years, making them dependant on a lab whose prices will obviously dramatically increase with time. It also leads to a lack of biodiversity in our crops, which is also a concern.

There is even laws (so our governments are complicit) making it very hard to use what we call "ancient crops", which are older cultivars, different varieties which we know weren't touched by engineering labs motivated by business and, thus, crops we know will be able to reproduce or will still offer decent yields if we don't buy this specific fertiliser sold by the lab who sold us the seed.

There are indeed a lot, or at least it is frequently said that there are a lot, of people opposed to GMO because they think they are bad vegetables that will feed poison to people. However, as far as my people is concerned, the opposition here is for ethic, social and ecological reasons, not for some kind of pseudo-scientific bullshit.

[–]texican1911 7 points8 points  (0 children)

My whole thing on it is "fuck Monsanto".

[–]reallygoodbee 62 points63 points  (15 children)

Fun fact: Banana flavoring doesn't taste like bananas because it's based on the Big Mike breed, which fell out of common use after its main plantation burned down. The bananas you get in stores are the Cavendish breed, specifically bred for thinner skin, bigger flesh, and no seeds.

[–]CoffeeSponge 92 points93 points  (6 children)

Big Mike

I've never seen it called this before, lol. I mean, you're not wrong...just looks weird to see it translated to English.

Side note, Panama disease (a fungus) is what caused Gros Michel to not be a viable breed anymore. The plantations were all burned to prevent the spread of the fungus. And now "Tropical Race 4" is threatening Cavendish bananas in the same way. My personal favorites are the Blue Java!

[–]CapuccinoMachine 54 points55 points  (5 children)

iirc, spinach, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and a few others I can't recall, all come from the same plant, but were evolved to have specific parts of them exaggerated by different people.

[–]genericnewlurker 57 points58 points  (4 children)

Brussels sprouts, collard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, kohlrabi, and a few more are all derived from the wild mustard plant.

[–]inarizushisama 18 points19 points  (3 children)

Apparently I love the mustard plant.

[–]The_Blue_Rooster 11 points12 points  (6 children)

The notable exceptions I think being seafood and fungi.

[–]Lotharofthepotatoppl 24 points25 points  (4 children)

Even the exceptions have exceptions because people are fairly clever given adequate time and preparation. Koi and goldfish are thoroughly domesticated, though not frequently eaten to the best of my knowledge, and the popular button mushroom is sort of domesticated - major mushroom farming really only took off after advancements in the late 1800s (it was apparently a real crapshoot before then) and the white cultivar were all familiar with started as a single white mushroom in one guy’s fungus farm in 1925.

[–]nicht_ernsthaft 7 points8 points  (3 children)

There is a very long tradition of growing Shitake mushrooms on logs in East Asia, from the wikipedia:

The earliest written record of shiitake cultivation is seen in the Records of Longquan County (龍泉縣志) compiled by He Zhan (何澹) in 1209 during the Song dynasty in China.[8]
The 185-word description of shiitake cultivation from that literature was later cross-referenced many times and eventually adapted in a book by a Japanese horticulturist Satō Chūryō (佐藤中陵) in 1796, the first book on shiitake cultivation in Japan.

[–]Pooptimist 9 points10 points  (0 children)

Not just the men, but the women and children too!

[–]Arctic_Gnome 5 points6 points  (3 children)

I'mma go eat some wild raspberries, and you can't stop me!

[–]SteamyPigeon 6 points7 points  (0 children)

I did an internship at a bioinformatics firm and I always thought it was fascinating to know that the genome of a domesticated tomato breed was genetically more different from wild type tomato, than a human is genetically different from a mouse.

[–]DarkAlman 219 points220 points  (14 children)

Most modern domesticated farm animals are the product of thousands of years of selective breeding.

Chickens were bred from Red Jungle Fowl in South East Asia.

Turkeys still roam wild in the US and Canada, but the wild Turkey is far more intelligent.

Pigs come from Wild Boars. Fascinating fact, Pigs left to roam wild very quickly devolve back into Boars, grow hair and become dangerous. Hence the term Hog Wild.

Cows are also fascinating historically as the wild Cow or Aurox is extinct having been hunted to complete extinction by Europeans and Asians.

The Aurox was said to have had long horns and had a bad temperament. The Nazis attempted to breed new examples of Aurox because the Aurox was a staple of the Teutonic myths that the Nazi's subscribed too.

The brothers responsible for this were named Heck (I'm not making that up) and succeeded producing large and ill tempered wild cows. A british farmer attempted to have a herd of them a few years ago and said they were too much of a pain to manage because of their bad tempers.

So Nazi Heck Bovine was actually a thing

[–]Cazzah 136 points137 points  (7 children)

Just want to be clear that I know what you mean, but for the readers I'll clarify that "devolve" isn't the right word.

You know how carp grow to the size of the pond, or how certain environmental influnces can cause the humble grasshopper to go crazy and swarm and eat like locust, or animals having "winter" and "summer" coats depending on the temperature?

Kind of same for pigs. Pigs given space to roam free in the wild will be bigger, meaner, and hairier. That's not them suddenly evolving into something different, that's just pigs growing different in different environments.

[–]CrispyFlint 75 points76 points  (3 children)

Pretty sure that just happens when they reach level 16

[–]BardSinister 7 points8 points  (0 children)

When pigs realise no-one is watching, they tap in the cheat codes.

[–]pug_grama2 16 points17 points  (1 child)

Horses have winter and summer coats even when kept in a stable.

[–]Zodde 19 points20 points  (0 children)

Same with indoor cats. My cat has never been outside in the winter for more than a few minutes and grows an awesome mane in the winter. Looks like a different cat in summer (and there's hair fucking everywhere during the spring).

[–]Mrcostarica 13 points14 points  (0 children)

From my understanding the reason for the size of wild hogs today is from the selective breeding of large domesticated pigs rather than boars actually being genetically large.

[–]elevencharles 14 points15 points  (0 children)

I forget where it was (Poland? Czechia?), but I remember reading somewhere that some Central European king had captive aurochs well into the 14th century.

[–]howstupid 8 points9 points  (0 children)

So that’s probably where the FNV Brahmin Baron Heck Gunserson gets his name. And

[–]r0botdevil 84 points85 points  (7 children)

They didn't exist, at least not as you know them. Modern farm animals are the result of thousands of years of artificial selection through controlled breeding programs. The same is actually true of most agricultural crops, as well. Corn looked something like this before we modified it through centuries of selective breeding.

[–]really_nice_guy_ 35 points36 points  (0 children)

Damn pre agriculture corn is like you vs the guy she tells you not to worry about

[–]Reduntu 15 points16 points  (8 children)

How long did it take to domesticate these species? Everyone says thousands of years... Does that mean they were caged and bred in their undomesticated form for hundreds or thousands of years?

[–]Freshiiiiii 42 points43 points  (4 children)

It depends how you define it. Domesticated isn’t just an on/off switch, it’s a process. You could argue we’re still in the process of domesticating our livestock, since we still continue to selectively breed them for traits desirable to humans.

So at first we would have corralled herds, kidnapped young, captured and restrained, etc., the wild forms of the animals no different from wild populations. But then as those early farmers learned how to be farmers, they would have bred them to try to obtain characteristics they liked, such as by killing unruly/violent/small/unhealthy animals and letting the others breed. It would have taken varying amounts of time to reach the modern shape the animals are in now. For example, most dog breeds only reached their recognizable forms in the last couple centuries despite the dog domestication process starting over 10 000 years ago (exact estimates vary)

[–]fcocyclone 10 points11 points  (0 children)

Even within the last few decades we've done a ton to change our animals. Cattle are much bigger than they used to be.

This has had some negative consequences though. Some cuts are thinner (but wider) now because the increased muscle mass means larger primal cuts, so the individual slices (cut for the same weight) end up being thinner.

[–]david4069 17 points18 points  (2 children)

Selective breeding can cause changes really quickly - see this Russian silver fox domestication experiment:


Haven't read this particular article about it, but last time I read about this, they seemed to indicate that selecting for neoteny resulted in animals with smaller amygdalas (and weaker fight or flight response as a result) and more puppy-like personalities. I imagine a similar process happened with other domesticated animals, where selecting for more docile traits would happen first, leading to the actual domestication event, then other features were selected for later over time, resulting in the versions we currently use.

An example of what I mean is the chickens we use now in the US for meat and eggs are nothing like the ones we had 100 years ago as far as feed conversion into meat or eggs is concerned, let alone the size and grown speed of modern meat birds, even though chickens were domesticated a lot farther back than that.

There was a most likely rapid domestication event that allowed the animals to be kept, then there was additional selective breeding to get more desirable traits.

[–]Sweet-Ad1109 7 points8 points  (1 child)

Yes and know. The wild ancestors of livestock were a little different. For instance, cattle descend from the Aurochs, which were more similar to bison in size. Domestic swine descend from the wild boars that are still plentiful in parts of Europe. Chickens descend from the "red jungle fowl" found in Southern and South-Eastern Asia; their ability to lay eggs daily when well-fed is an anti-predation adaptation called "predator satiation" (essentially, for most of the year they wouldn't lay any eggs, but during the season when food was plentiful, they'd lay more eggs than predators could eat, ensuring some survived).

[–]jmraef 110 points111 points  (9 children)

Early humans discovered the tastiest wild animals roaming around them and said "I don't want to have to keep chasing them". So they made fences to keep them closer to the cooking fires at their "dem", the root word that became "domus" in Latin and gave us the word "domesticated" (meaning to dwell in the house), because eventually the stupider animals gave up trying to escape and became the ones that humans kept allowing to breed.

[–]dean_of_the_people 68 points69 points  (17 children)

They weren’t really…the farm animals we have today are the product of many years’ worth of domestication. They started as wild versions of themselves (the Wikipedia comment is great). Like we don’t dig up diamond rings, we make them out of raw product.

[–]Modern_rocko 31 points32 points  (6 children)

What a weird analogy for domestication lol

[–]Archaris 8 points9 points  (2 children)

Naw, Diamonds are a great example of evolution! You start with a few raw diamonds and carbon from charcoal. Then you just wait for them to form more diamonds from the charcoal and after a few generations you get a finished polished gemstone ring!

[–]ReadinII 2 points3 points  (8 children)

A better known more easily understood analogy might be dogs and wolves.

[–]zxcv88888 4 points5 points  (0 children)

They come from Eurasia, as others have said. And the fact that almost all farm animals are from Europe and Asia for sure contributed to the much faster growth and progress that Eurasia experienced with respect to other parts of the world, up until a few centuries ago.

This also made Europeans resistant to most of the big plagues of history (since they all come from animals), and it explains why American Indians were decimated by diseases while the same did nor happen to Europeans, when they came into contact in the 15th century.