Zebra vs Horses: Animal Domestication
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Zebra vs Horses: Animal Domestication

August 10, 2019

Sheep… weren’t always this fluffy. We fluffy-fied them by breeding the fluffiest in each generation. This is domestication: sculpting wild animals for better human use. As we saw in Part 1, for early man, animals were powerful tools …food, clothing, transportation, tractors. Yet, though there were animals everywhere, only a handful were domesticated in the pre-modern world. What made these different? Let’s make a domestication checklist, shall we? First up: Feedable A cow is a machine that turns grass into steaks And a tiger a machine that turns steaks into… tiger. Ten pounds of grass make a pound of steak. And ten pounds of steak make a pound of tiger. … but these have the same number of calories — so you might as well just eat the cow and save yourself a lot of work. So pure carnivores: you’re not going to domesticate, just because of thermodynamics. You’re looking for herbivores that aren’t picky. They should eat something that’s everywhere that you can’t eat. Any omnivores better be happy eating whatever and better be super worth it. We are, however, putting the pig before the pen here because first we need to catch something that’s… Friendly OK, obviously catching a carnivore is a bad idea anyway because their day job is murder. But plenty of omnivores like grizzleys moonlight in murder. No safety in vegetarians either: buffalo are terrifying tanks for all the reasons mentioned before… …hippos hold the murder high-score in Africa, …giraffes look real dorky until you consider their striking range — lions mostly leave them alone. Animals it would be awesome to domesticate are, not coincidentally, super dangerous. War bears would be a hell of an advantage for your tribe, but it’s not going to happen. And if it’s big and not dangerous, it’s a nervous wreck. Try sneaking up on a gazelle? Rhymes with “LOL”. Sure, you and a team of buddies could spend the whole day marathon jogging it down to exhaustion… …but if it doesn’t break it’s own neck as you try to drag it back home, …then it’s going to casually leap out of whatever pen you built for it. Ok, next up: some animals have reproductive -ah- preferences… …that make them incompatible with captivity. Looking at you, Pandas. The time and energy humans have spent to get pandas to get on with it is comical. Hunter-Gatherers need an animal so eager to breed, it gets it wrong sometimes. … not an animal whose mating seasons they have to keep careful track of. So: Friendly, Feedable and — Fecund. It also needs to grow up fast. This gets us to the heart of domestication versus taming. Again: to domesticate a species is to change it to make it better for us. And side note here: we domesticate plants as well. We’ve bred them to be monstrous versions of their wild selves. So when hippies talk about going back to nature, they forget that these plants are just as man made as this pop-tart. Anyway, back to the animals… The pig porkification project succeeded because pig generations are shorter than human generations. A single, clever human can make porky progress in their lifetime. Compare and contrast: Elephants. Two years to make a calf, five years in between calves, nine years until female maturity, fifteen years for males? You’ve got to be kidding, Elephants. There’s no time for this. But humans can still tame elephants. You can catch an elephant, and train it not to freak out around humans. Then, put it to work. But elephant domestication would require accurate records over several human lives… …never mind that keeping one or two tamed elephants around is incredibly costly …which is why war elephants only happened on occasion in already complex societies. Tame elephants are a luxury, hence this rule of thumb: if it’s on farm, it’s domesticated, if it’s in a circus, it’s tame. Finally: families. OK: zebra vs horses. Horses are civilization game-changers — it’s remarkable to think that from thousands BC until the telegraph… …a dude on a horse was the best internet available. Horses were domesticated in Eurasia, but humans started in Africa which has Zebra … …why didn’t the first humans ride out of Africa on the backs of zebra to conquer the world? Because zebra are bastards. They live to kick and bite: dangerous in a pre-penicillin world. …and zebra also have a ducking reflex making them very frustrating to lasso. In addition to being a real pain in the ass animal, Zebra lack a family structure. Horse herds hierarchy — you can see it when they travel in a line: the male, top female, her foals, second female, her foals, and so on. Humans, by capturing and taming the lead male, become head horse. Lots of barnyard animals are barnyard animals because they have family values humans exploit — …they just grow up with the idea that this human is a funny sort of take-charge cow or whatever. No big deal. Chickens will peck, peck, peck until they’ve worked out who’s top chicken. But you know whose really top chicken? We’re top chicken. Dogs and cats: this is what makes them different. Dogs will love you and defend you and hunt with you because you’re part of the pack. Dogs live to be useful to us — which in the modern world means falling over to play dead — but they love it “Bang! …. Good girl. Good girl!” [laughing] … whereas a cat is a tiny tiger that lives in your house. Ok, back to these guys. For zebra, there’s no such thing as society. They hang out in groups because it’s a good survival strategy but they don’t really care. Catch a zebra and his family won’t follow, try to ride him and you’ll be lucky to keep your fingers. Zebra look like horses on the outside, but not on the inside. So that’s the checklist:
Friendly – Feedable – Fecund – Family Friendly It’s not a long checklist, but for Hunter-Gatherers, any animal they wanted to domesticate needed everything,… …which is why in early human history only a bakers dozen of big animals were domesticated the world over. [music] This video has been brought to you by audible.com. And if you like checklists as much as I do,… I’m going to recommend to you the book “The Checklist Manifesto” by Atul Gawande. Yes! There’s an entire book about how important and life-changing checklists can be… …and what makes a good checklist and what makes a bad checklist, … with examples from the airline industry to war time, to just your regular daily life. I highly recommend it. Go to audible.com/grey for a free trial in Audible and give “The Checklist Manifesto”a listen. Audible has have over 180,000 things for you to listen to and I listen to audiobooks all the time to improve my life. Why not get started today by going to Audible.com/grey? [music]

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  1. 2:34
    This comparison is somewhat misleading.
    Sure, modern crops are heavily edited by man, but who has ever gotten diabetes type II from eating fruits?
    That comes from pop-tarts.

  2. Equine studies major here. Horses recognize that we are not part of their herd in any way shape or form and we never will be and they know it. They could care less about pets or affection from humans because they are set up that way. They are very independant and not very affevtionate. The way you take charge of them is making the right choice easy and the wrong one hard. They learn through interactions and our body language. Whether you are a horseman or not, every time you interact with a horse you are giving it some level of training. Did the horse stomp and you moved? Well the horse figured out it can push you around with his body. He who moves his feet first loses in the horse world.

  3. This guy assumes that a good place to start taming an animal is with a wild*, *adult of the species!!
    The differential success rates of animal taming should only be based on capturing a baby, and measuring your success rate and making your comparisons from there . Some will, some won't; but trying to start with a wild adult of the species like a big puck goat from the wilds highlands of Kerry or Scotland wouldn't be amongst the brightest of plans!!

  4. Cats are NOT just tiny tigers that live in you house, but rodent and insect hunters that make agriculture possible from the start , due to domesticated cats killing rats and mice in the home, which cuts back on disease, and feral cats that keep mice and rats from wiping out your crops. It was the death penalty in Antient Eqypt to kill a cat, and this love of cats made the Pharouhs rich, and the people well fed. The Dark Ages were more dark when the Europeans started to hate on wild and domestic cats.

  5. Baby animals aren’t hard to catch. That’s good to keep in mind. I’ve caught baby turkeys, hogs, deer, raccoons, rabbits, armadillos, opossums, squirrels, skunks, mice, etc. And I guarantee men 10,000 years ago were more capable than me. I imagine that’s how domestication was done for a lot of species

  6. Elephant domestication did happen. I'm not sure if it was the Romans or Carthage who bread them to be war elephants over about 3-500 years to fight the Indian war elephants but it did happen. It was a total failure though because when the African elephant smelt the Indian elephants they'd never smelt before they panicked and ran.

  7. Would be nice to see some credit given to Jarad Diamond who spelled these ideas out in "Guns Germs and Steel".

  8. But why more easily domesticating animals in Eurasia than America? Could a Noah's ark have something to do with this?

  9. 3:33 CGP Grey,who are those that ride there,WHEN and WHERE is the movie maid ?
    3:39 CGP are you STILL that stupid ? The different races evolved fromDIFFERENT SPECIES of HUMANS,IDIOT.
    Around 1960's,in NE moldova Region of Romania was also found a 2 milion year old BONE (well,2 million,is you belive the IDIOTIC ideea that "humans evolved" and are a FILTHY ATEIST,wich,you beeing an american,i can bet you are) besides the fact that the FIRST AND MOST IMPORTANT IN THE WORLD NATION STATE,NATIONA,NATIONAL IDENTITY AND PURITY,CULTURE,SOCIETY,CIVILIZATION,WRITING,ALFABET,LANGUAGE and so much more,were first done in Dacia or proto-Dacia in today's Romania (and some more tritory bordering today's borders) .

    So stop this FILTHY PROPAGANDA with "out of africa" theory wichj was PROVEN it is FALSE as FALSE CAN BE.

  10. cats can be loving or independent depending on the individual or gender. male cats are often more affectionate. however, my cat is a girl and decided she likes me and that i am her buddy. she's even slept on one of my pillows at the headboard of my bed for over a month or so when i was being harrassed during high school. it really depends on the cat. however they can be trained to want to hunt for you. Every time they bring home a dead animal, praise them. it's their gift to the household and they think we're poor hunters. also cats were domesticated to be mousers. Now if only we could do that with tigers but keep the large size…

  11. Tortoises turtles? Maybe they don't grow quickly they don't have a lot of babies? Snails ? Tons snails, what about snails?

  12. Cats deserved more! Because they’re a weird exception and no one is sure whether they’re actually domesticated at all.

  13. This s a real "learning" video, done in a short distinct way. It answered so many questions.
    The animals that surrounded the early hominids were, in many the reason only certain groups advanced and others seemed to advance to a given level.
    Now you should make a video of how the "surroundings" in the earlier times affected the advance of those who advanced.

  14. Simple. Logical. Brilliant. Thanks. You educated an old geezer on something he didn't know today. …and that is hard to do. 🙂

  15. So domesticated animals explains why Europeans had buggies, coaches, billboards, etc. and Africans and Americans hadn't invented the wheel or furniture.

    I once thought that Europe and Asia was more advanced because the climate allowed them to thrive without having to struggle on the edge of doom and yet not make things so easy that, eh, why bother. So they had the impetus to invent and the time to do it. But North America has a similar climate to Europe and Asia. It was the domesticated animals that allowed Europe and Asia to advance.

    Makes more sense.

  16. Bravo more , harder ! Also – I think I can domesticate a buffalo , brain chip ,shock collar tracking bracelet , pocket full of oxycotton

  17. Selective breeding can achieve most of those alleged requirements. It could take only a mere several generations of selective breeding an animal like the Silver Fox and perhaps other animals could take several HUMAN generations to achieve another domesticated species.

    That said, you could also breed the most aggressive and make some pretty efficient killing machines.

  18. Amazing video! The facts were delivered brilliantly with a very entertaining level of humor! Great job I thoroughly enjoyed watching this! Thanks and keep up the great work. Cheers,


  19. I still love all those animals and respect them. Of course i would not pet all of them because some of them would like to kill me, but hey, that's only because they are carnivores, they don't eat vegetables

  20. At 3:54 Zebras are not meant to be ridden like a horse ! – they are built all wrong, and their backs unlike a horse will not support the weight of any man or woman ! – even early pictures of the Rothschild’s carriage was pulled by Painted White Horses ! ! – Look Up the old pictures ! – also zebras natural defense is their stripes,try picking one out a running herd……from a lions point of view…..

  21. African girls weren't always this thicc, we thiccified them by breeding the thiccest of each generation.

  22. Zebras were tamed by the German cavalry in East Africa pre WW1 – so it is possible. And the original wild horses of Eurasia were likely just as difficult to domesticate back then as the zebra.

  23. Talks about how carnivores cant be domesticated, while dogs and cats are both pure carnivores and the most commonly owned animals on earth

  24. Pathetic dribble. Yet another list of "reasons" for the lack of animal domestication in Africa. Absolutely ludicrous reasoning showing an utter lack of knowledge and understanding of history and animal husbandry.

  25. Your explanation for why zebras weren't domesticated isn't too convincing. They are not "different on the inside" from horses. Horses and zebras are both species in the same genus. And, bastards though they may be, zebras aren't any more ornery than wild horses. Both can be tamed, especially if you start to tame them as early as possible.

  26. I still say that we should be living WITH the land, NOT on it . Migrating and giving it full seasons to recover, NOT conjuring up worthless pieces/paper thin sheets of an item that forces us to go do things that we're NOT supposed to be doing according to the Great Creator's plans. Top that off with remaining in the same exact area, keeping others out, by fighting them off to the death. So that we can call it our own, call it private, and call it what you like…..at the end of the day, all you will have left, with enough time passed….is a big pile of shit. Thank you very much alarm clock for disturbing my excellent sleep.

  27. The ancestors of cows were exactly like buffalo, the ancestors of horses exactly like zebras. They started mean, we made them docile

  28. Y’all are so sure of your facts of taming, breeding, and domestication? Yet?, we are the saddest example.
    Anything the gvt monster regulates? We acquiesce to to the monster we created. Freedom means nothing when a human becomes a pet Thanks to gvt and public education. Yet, we see so clearly all species , but us?
    We pay taxes so that gvt can absolve instinct and nature. Then, we watch these poor animals? Cmon.
    We willingly pay slavery tax for “ services”. Just which animal is domesticated? Of course

  29. Yo dude. I liked and subscribed. I like your content, and how you are not begging us to like and subscribe.

  30. Catching carnivores is amazingly useful! Not for food, obviously, but for hunting (like dogs) or pest control (like cats).

  31. They don't capture the lead male, they capture the lead mare. As a rule, stallions are more outsiders of the herd. They are lead by a lead mare.

  32. How to get a girlfriend:
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  33. 04:50 :- )))) and then the cat with that face…
    dog: – yoooohooo, the alpha is home, home! the lord, my MAAASER!!
    cat: – yoo late, slayv. giv I many foodz. now!

  34. Zebras only travel together for survival and don’t give a fuck about family values like other domesticated animals hence why their useless for human use?……… Then Zebras are the gangstas of the animal world.

    Zebra = Gangsta

  35. You forgot the fourth "F". Flammable!
    Tallow was a major driver for domestication. Beeswax just wasn't plentiful enough & before whale oil, gas & eventually electricity tallow was the major light source. Tallow candles were smelly, sooty & dim but it was all huge swathes of people had.
    We evolved to eat plants, seafood, birds & all the gazelle/deer variants. Our bodies can cope with the fats in seafood, birds, olants & the deer type animals are very lean.
    But, what makes a good tallow candle is the hard, saturated fats (suet) from cows, sheep & pork. But it's the setting qualities that meant your candle stayed upright that causes us trouble. Setting in our arteries just like in candle moulds. It's why fish oils don't clog arteries. Fish live in cold seawater & if their fat set they wouldn't be able to move!
    So, the fourth F, flammability, has caused us problems ever since. Hard fats, originally such a plus point in the domestication stakes, now kills millions as it sets in their arteries as it used to set in candle moulds.

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