Talk:Domestication

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Biology (Rated C-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon Domestication is part of the WikiProject Biology, an effort to build a comprehensive and detailed guide to biology on Wikipedia.
Leave messages on the WikiProject talk page.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
 
WikiProject Agriculture (Rated C-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Agriculture, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of agriculture on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
 
WikiProject Anthropology (Rated B-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Anthropology, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Anthropology on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the importance scale.
 
WikiProject Archaeology (Rated B-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Archaeology, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Archaeology on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.
 
WikiProject History (Rated B-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject History, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of the subject of History on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
 
WikiProject Plants (Rated C-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Plants, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of plants and botany on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
 


Section-by-section cleanup[edit]

PoV problems with "Negative aspects" section[edit]

DobeyDog deleted this entire section, with an edit summary of "This entire section is nothing but POV. And is entirely unnecessary". While I agree that the section has WP:NPOV issues, both of these statements appear to be hyperbole, and we don't nuke large swaths material, much of it reliably sourced, without consensus to do so. We obviously need some information on criticism of domestication and observations of its "negative aspects" for present lack of a better term. The purpose of this article is not to be a domestication fan page, and it needs to present a balanced view of the topic. That said, such a section cannot be some kind of "domestication is the devil's work" rant, either. I would suggest that DobeyDog (being the principal objector) outline a) the scope/tone/overall problems with the section, and b) any specific claims which appear to be unverifiable, either because they cannot be sourced, or because the cited sources are being misused in a WP:OR fashion, and indicate the nature of this misuse.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  18:51, 20 November 2015 (UTC)

The quality of the sources matter. The only "science" in that entire section is the part that lists changes that come as a result of domestication. But even that is ruined by putting it under a section titled "negative aspects of" which is inherently POV. That should be labeled something like "effects of domestication", or "consequences of domestication". The rest isn't even justifiable it should either be removed or labeled "criticism of" or something similar to make it clear that what's being presented isn't part of scientific consensus. If I went to the evolution page and saw half the page taken up by a section treating creationism as if it was hard science. I wouldn't trust that page as a source of information regardless of how many sources it listed. That's the problem with that section it conflates propaganda with science. That's not presenting a balanced view of the topic. That's making it harder for people to use Wikipedia as a reliable source of information.DobeyDog (talk) 13:52, 23 November 2015 (UTC)

@DobeyDog: Generally agreed. I can definitely identify two kinds of advocacy/activism going on in this section. The first is the "down with designer breeds" viewpoint, which is often very confused. "Designer breed" generally actually refers to inter-breed hybrids like the labradoodle, and this is process actually increases genetic diversity (see Hybrid vigor). What the anti-"designer" people are really concerned about (when they're not commingling "don't you dare pollute my favorite breed" PoV with stuff that actually makes sense) is "puppy mill"-style incautious breeding that has little regard for genetic defects, such as the hip dysplasia that now plagues and may well doom several dog breeds. The second form of PoV being subtly advanced in this section is the "humans should always leave nature alone" über-hippy treehugger nonsense, which almost always flows directly from the same mouths as anti-GMO, anti-vaccine, anti-pasteurization, and other WP:FRINGE stuff. The viewpoints exist in the real world and are notable enough that our articles have to account for them, but we cannot repeat their anti-humanist, basically spiritualist Gaia/Tao claims in WP's own voice.

Forking this into separate sections on the science of domestication's consequences, and criticisms of domestication (which may or many not be scientific, depending on the specific criticism) would probably be the best first step toward cleaning up the material without engaging in wholesale deletionism.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  05:35, 26 December 2015 (UTC)

"Degrees" and "Tame or domesticated" sections[edit]

There are two sections in this article that are uncited, and in the case of TAME OR DOMESTICATED appear to be personal conjecture. I invite editors to supply citations to support what is being stated in these 2 sections, which are slightly related. If there has been no development in a month's time then my intention is to delete TAME OR DOMESTICATED completely and review what should happen with DEGREES at that time. I seek other editors input on this matter (Mac are you still about on this page?). Regards, William Harristalk • 22:17, 25 December 2015 (UTC)

@William Harris: We shouldn't delete entire sections of an article (especially when both already have some, albeit insufficient, sourcing, and are not "uncited"). WP:V policy requires of non-controversial information only that it be sourceable not sourced. Obviously it should be sourced, but that's not a basis for wholesale deletion except where there's genuine controversy, when it's a WP:BLP, where it's potentially misleading medical information, and under a few other circumstances.
A few minutes on Google: [1] [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7], [8]. As of this exact writing, scholar.google.com is temporarily down, so the best material isn't G-search available right this moment, but should be in an hour or a day. Even Darwin wrote about the difference between domestication and taming (and whether domestic-wild hybridization will result in domesticated animals or not) [9], though the distinction is much, much older. The same search also coughed up several results specifically on the cat issue, though I think we should look for actual journal articles on that; newspapery stuff is not reliable enough for such fine-grained questions as how to define "domestication" within the context of a specific species and its ethology.
OxfordHandbooks.com, if you have access to it, produces some probably relevant literature review results in multiple fields [10], including "The Moral Relevance of the Distinction Between Domesticated and Wild Animals" (Palmer 2012), "Animal Domestication" (Outram 2013), "Domesticating Animals in Africa" (Gifford-Gonzalez & Hanotte 2013), "Early Farming and Domestication" (Barker 2009), "The Emergence and Spread of Herding in Northern Africa: A Critical Reappraisal" (Di Lernia 2013), "Animals and Social Relations" (Marciniak & Pollard 2014), "Pet" (MacKinnon 2014), etc. This is just one of many serious academic search resources, several of which any experienced and regular WP editor can request access to at the link given toward the start of the previous sentence. Oh, another is "The Neolithic on the Plateau" (Özbaşaran 2011), which covers proto-domestication, a term our article has not even introduced yet.
Anyway, instead of a "fix it soon or else" ultimatum (especially during a holiday season and a year end/beginning period which mark an annual low in editorial activity and attention), it's generally most useful to WP:BEBOLD and WP:JUSTDOIT when it comes to removing and correcting WP:NOR and WP:NPOV problems, if they can be correctly identified. I've just done a series of edits in this vein that both improve the text of the sections under question (the one immediately below it also badly needs work, as it is infected with two distinct kinds of activism), and make it clearer what to source next. If I were not ridiculously busy right now, I'd probably take an afternoon to just do all that sourcing myself, and to improve the sections in question a lot more in the process. Even if what's in them right now is sourced fully, they'll still be a little weak. It might make sense to nominate this at Articles for improvement, to attract additional editorial attention, because this article is actually really important as a basic part of the encyclopedia. It's sad and disappointing that the various animals and life sciences and history and anthropology and environment and sustainability and etc. projects have neglected this article for so long, given how central the topic is to humanity no longer being a near-extinct species of naked hunter-gatherer hominids with crude tools. :-)  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  05:35, 26 December 2015 (UTC)
Hi Mac, thanks for your replies and restructure of this section. Page stats for this article show that it has 154 watchers, of whom 15 have looked at recent edits, so we are not alone here even if other editors choose to remain silent. (If nothing else, they will learn how those of Hibernian-lineage conduct themselves in agreement/disagreement.) We both agree that this page is important to both of us and that its profile needs to be raised, as each has stated on the Talk page. Stats show that it receives between 400-600 hits per day, some days peaking to around the 800 mark, with 17,000 views over the past month so it is of use to users across the English-speaking world. I regard the article as dancing around the periphery of the domestication process and not getting "stuck into it", therefore I have raised the heading level of the sections now retitled Domestication of Animals and the Domestication of Plants. By this time tomorrow the bots will have reindexed these across the internet so that a search-engine will have them served up among the offerings if a user should do a search on either of these titles. You know how this works, and our daily hits should increase.
Regarding TAME OR DOMESTICATED, it was not to be lost - I intended in February to transfer the content to the Tame animal article (it certainly needs some beefing up) and simply put a link to it from this article; if people wanted to pursue the difference they would have been directed to the other page. If you wish to keep it then I will leave it in your hands to follow up citations as you deem fit in your own time - I like people who takes responsibility.
I have a particular interest in the process of domestication, and how it relates to animals in particular. My focus will be in redeveloping that section. We can talk again about the DEGREES section once I have that completed, as both will relate to each other. I suggest that we relocate as much of the first 3 sentences of this article under a section called Etymology, which will also include the use of other word terms, leaving the lead paras free for saying something valuable to readers about the domestication process proper. We need to use the words domestication of animals and domestication of plants in the first sentence; once again so the bots will do their work. We can later develop a strategy for identifying Wikipedia articles into which we can link the Domestication article, boosting its profile further, but first we must make sure we have something valuable to offer to begin with. Regards, William Harristalk • 09:25, 27 December 2015 (UTC)
Regarding "It's sad and disappointing that the various animals and life sciences and history and anthropology and environment and sustainability and etc. projects have neglected this article for so long, given how central the topic is to humanity..." You might need to select closer allies. I have just added Wikiproject Agriculture to our list (and I assume domestication might be highly important to agriculture, else it would not exist) and am giving thought to adding Wikiproject Forestry and possibly Wikiproject Horticulture & Gardening. (We should consider axing "Plants" and "Animals" as we are simply too far removed from their spheres of interest - this article will never be highly important to such broad topics.) Regarding Archaeology, if you really want some input from them, then perhaps linking into WikiProject Ancient Near East, where the first agriculture and animal husbandry occurred. I would have thought that "Agriculture" and "Mammals" would have been plenty - we need to focus. But if you are really passionate about this subject, then stuff them! - you are a smart man, why not create a Wikiproject Domestication whose scope spans them all? Regards, William Harristalk • 06:42, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
Hi Mac, I just discovered why the other projects may exhibit little interest in this article - take a look at Talk:Selective breeding and the list of related Wikiprojects and their ratings. Poor Domestication misses out. I now propose to you something that might sound extraordinary - the domestication process and the selective breeding process are separate, occurred at different times, and involve different gene expressions (Larson and friends). The first step was domestication, the second step later was selective breeding. ("How do I stop it from biting me?" is a higher-priority question than "Does it come in tan?") I will elaborate further soon, and once we have articulated the difference between the two then the other projects may have a renewed interest. Regards, William Harristalk • 05:25, 29 December 2015 (UTC)
Agreed, these are definitely related but separate topics. I'm not sure how separately we can treat them without WP:NOR danger, though. Some forms of selective breeding would almost certainly have happened from the start ("only one pup in this wolf litter did not try to eat my children by the time it was a juveile, so kill the rest and eat & skin them, then breed the safer one with the safer one we kept from last year"). Early selective breeding would have been entirely for behavior, later for productivity (and related factors – fecundity, hardiness, etc.), only comparatively recently for appearance and for other fine qualities, a pursuit of a post-horticultural aristocracy.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  22:19, 29 December 2015 (UTC)
No issue regarding WP:NOR; it has been stated by much greater minds than mine. It is just a matter of citing them in the article. Regards, William Harristalk • 05:11, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
I have now added a cited and physically supported Domestication Categories section under the Domestication of Animals chapter. I have removed the section titled Degrees for 3 reasons: (1) It is not cited and provides no physical support. (2) People have added lists of their favorite animals to it that is original research - uncited and also very subjective. (3) The scene is now set for the addition of the framework for animal domestication, which conflicts with what is claimed under the unsupported Degrees section. I will post this in the next day or so - it will be a substantial addition to this article. Regards, William Harristalk • 20:31, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
There is no such thing as a "tame" plant, therefore the term relates to animals only. As the chapter Domestication of Animals is the one I have an interest in redeveloping, I have defined the difference (with citations) under that chapter, and deleted the uncited Tame or Domesticated chapter. Please let me know if this is an issue. Regards, William Harristalk • 08:53, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
It verges on a dictionarian distinction, and should be easy to cover in brief, without all that OR about "levels". Much of it wasn't wrong, but it was unsourced, novel analysis. There may even be a source somewhere that addresses this, but until then we don't need that stuff, and should be fine with just some definitional citations distinguishing taming from domestication. Needn't even have a section on it right now. (That said, I actually have heard "tame" or "taming" applied to plants, but it jargonistic term of art for things like carefully directing garden and ornamental plant growth and propagation; it's essentially a metaphor, and not directly comparable to, e.g., taming lions and elephants for circuses).  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  01:56, 4 March 2016 (UTC)

"Animals" section[edit]

Additionally, as for the ANIMALS section that has become a monument to Jared Diamond, this work was previously stated by Hale (1969) and Price (1984) - the book titled Guns, Germs and Steel was not the original work. Some editor in the past has done much further work finding citations to support it. I suggest this be considered for some form of rectification as well. William Harristalk • 03:49, 26 December 2015 (UTC)

Agreed, though we're supposed to cite secondary sources like Diamond, not rely entirely on primary source research papers. The problem is mostly in depending on one secondary source, and a populist one, instead of multiple literature reviews.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  05:35, 26 December 2015 (UTC)
Let me suggest that Diamond in this instance is a tertiary source; he has no real expertise in this field apart from what he has taken from the work of others. It is not that he is off-track, it is that it detracts from those who proposed these ideas first. We have 3 primary sources developing the same theme: Hale et al (1969), Price et al (1984) and Price et al (2002), all summarised as a lit search in Zeder 2012. Given that Zeder is backed by Greger Larson, I'm with these guys. We now have a domestication theory expert (Zeder) teamed up with the zooarcheology/ancient DNA crew (Larson & teams/associates). Haven't heard of Greger Larson? - http://www.palaeobarn.com/ and have a look at the publications. You have heard of his various teams' work if not his name: Where the domestic chicken came from. Where the domestic pig came from. Next stop: where the domestic dog came from! And this is why the Domestication article is so important right now, we now have the DNA technology to unravel ancient DNA and tell us what we once dreamed of knowing. This consortium is also looking at the very genes which differ between wild and domesticated species, and have forecast that within a decade they will have a full explanation of the domestication process. Regards, William Harristalk • 04:33, 27 December 2015 (UTC) Article in NYT on Larson & consortium: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/19/science/the-big-search-to-find-out-where-dogs-come-from.html?_r=1 William Harristalk • 20:06, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
That's not how WP defines a tertiary source, though. A tertiary source is another encyclopedia, a dictionary, database, directory, third-party abstract, or other pure or near-pure regurgitation of data without any WP:AIES work, but Diamond's book consists almost entirely of AEIS (perhaps more than is warranted from the sources he used). It's also from a reputable non-fiction publisher, so that makes it presumptively a high-quality secondary source by default. However, some of his conclusions have been broadly questioned, by both other secondary sources and by primary scholarly research, so it's probably a middling-quality SS, and his views should be attributed directly, not cited as if reliable facts. I agree that citations of Diamond, and even of Zeder's literature review, should not be used to occlude the actual researchers, but WP:V, WP:RS, and WP:NOR really, really want us to cite SS like these, not just PS research papers.

I have no issues with the folks you want to cite, of course. There's also already been a lot of work on dogs; I forget who's been doing it exactly (I was looking at this ~6 mo. ago, and just a little), but I seem to recall that they've figured out that DNA-viable Ice Age wolf remains are directly related to modern dogs (I hope I'm remembering this correctly). It's something I encountered in passing while looking for papers on ancient cat DNA.

So: Generally thumbs up, but just want to be clear that we're not removing Diamond and other non-journal SS, but rather not allowing their misuse to sound more authoritative than they are or to mislead readers into thinking that theories he/they didn't come up with are his/theirs, which should be properly credited; and that we need to keep relying on secondary sources for any AIES claims, even if we also add citations to the original papers behind them. To me it's always safe to do: General/summarized claim here.<ref>Secondary source(s) that synthesized its relation to other material.</ref><ref>Original paper(s) behind the claim.</ref> More specifically, a detail that's important, which the SS didn't really get into, and which doesn't constitute an independent AIES claim we have to have a SS for.<ref>Original paper also relied upon by the SS, for that sub-claim in particular.</ref> However according to... insert directly attributed, maybe directly quoted, recent PS counter-claim mentioned in at least one lit. rev.<ref>That paper here.</ref> Hope that helps, and sorry I'm not in a position right now to really dig into this with you.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  22:13, 29 December 2015 (UTC)

OK, thanks. For what I have been preparing, I am using BOTH the primaries and the modern "domestication heavy-weight" Larson as the secondary. I won't be posting it until late January when the holiday period draws to a close. For the dogs, you are recalling Skoglund (2015) and his Taimir wolf nuclear DNA analysis - Taimir wolf/gray wolf/dogs diverged 40,000 YBP from a common ancestor. (It is all on "my" page at the Origin of the domestic dog - I carry all this stuff in my head; I really should find another hobby......) Regards, William Harristalk • 05:23, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
Regarding Diamond, under Behavioral Preadaption this is what he actually said, not what was previously depicted in the article. He never said that these were the 6 signs of domesticated animals, he said that the ancestors of a few wild large land-dwelling herbivores (i.e. cattle) must have exhibited these characteristics. This was then followed by a past editor counter-arguing with uncited original research against these "6 signs of domestication" using examples of carnivores etc. That was not what Diamond had said. Sadly, Diamond did not cite any primary research, however I am not concerned about this. I hope you approve of what I have done with Diamond. Regards, William Harristalk • 23:15, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
That seems entirely reasonable. I agree it's OR (namely novel reinterpretation) to change Diamond's ideas about the likely characteristics of the ancestral population of something with some kind of "6 signs of domestication" after the fact. If anything, it's an outright error, not just a questionable interpretation.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  02:03, 4 March 2016 (UTC)

Negative aspects section[edit]

Someone might review this section for achieving a neutral point of view. For example, negative aspects includes: reduction in size, piebald color, shorter faces with smaller and fewer teeth, diminished horns, smaller brains, simplified behavior patterns. It remains unclear why these are negative traits. The elephant is reduced in size compared to the extinct mammoth - no domestication was necessary to achieve that, nature thought it was a good idea for a warming planet. What is the downside of piebald color, especially when humans are willing to spread the owners of these genes around the globe and mass-produce them, giving their genes a competitive advantage over their wild cousins. Smaller brains - which is usually accompanied by more folds in the brain - is indicated in recent studies for better memory and enhanced processing power. Based on cranial capacity, the human brain is smaller than the Neanderthal brain - nobody is arguing that this is a negative aspect. Shorter faces with fewer teeth; that would be a dog compared to the extant gray wolf, but not the dog compared to its probable ancestor, the megafaunal wolf, which did have a shorter, wider palate (like a large rottwheiler but with massive bone-crunching power). This section is largely based on a book written 50 years ago and experiments with rats; I question its relevance today, its single source, and the objectivity of the editor who placed it in the article. Regards, William Harristalk • 04:30, 27 January 2016 (UTC)

Agreed; see also previous #PoV problems with "Negative aspects" section thread. I smell a strong whiff of the WP:FRINGE side of the animal-rights and don't-mess-with-nature camps here.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  00:49, 29 January 2016 (UTC)

Domestication of animals - proposal to SPINOFF[edit]

Hello All, WP:SUMMARY advises that within an article "a fuller treatment of any major subtopic should go in a separate article of its own. The original article should contain a section with a summary of the subtopic's article as well as a link to it." The article size is now 78kb. Therefore, it is my intention to WP:SPINOFF the chapter on "Domestication of animals" into its own article, appropriately linked to the "Domestication" page. Your comments on this proposal, please? William HarrisWikiProject Mammalstalk • 09:32, 23 February 2016 (UTC)

Now actioned. Regards, William HarrisWikiProject Mammalstalk • 09:10, 26 February 2016 (UTC)
The summary here of the spinoff article is too short; it should cover all the main points, and be several paragraphs, since effectively half of the whole topic. WP:SUMMARYSTYLE covers this.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  21:32, 26 February 2016 (UTC)
Agreed, I will get onto it next. The complicating factor is that the lead paras for Domestication are also lead for Domestication of animals. Regards, William Harristalk • 08:46, 27 February 2016 (UTC)
Now amended, please advise if further work is recommended. Regards, William Harristalk • 10:51, 29 February 2016 (UTC)
Yeah, I'm sure the lead material from the one can be compressed in the other. It will iron out.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  02:05, 4 March 2016 (UTC)

Confusing definitions[edit]

The article currently leaves the reader confused as to what domestication is. The opening sentence is fine. But, later in the article in the "Definitions" section a new, rather complex, definition is introduced. But, this second (apparently recent) definition is supported only by 2 primary sources and these are both by the same author. Is it not possible to find secondary sources to support this as a mainstream view?DrChrissy (talk) 14:26, 29 February 2016 (UTC)

Secondary source added. The first definition ("which is fine") is a cut-down version of the second - no new definition had been added. William Harristalk • 08:26, 1 March 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for the secondary source. I still find the definitions confusing or conflicting. The first is about the relationship to humans, thereby excluding some potential examples. The second is about the relationship between organisms, thereby including these other potential examples. I know definitions can be extremely hard to tie down. Personally, I do not care which is used. Both can be discussed, but I think the reader needs to be informed that different definitions exist. DrChrissy (talk) 18:38, 1 March 2016 (UTC)
I concur that you are correct and there has been a shift from humans to organisms. However, that first sentence is easy to follow and is what search engines will deliver when people key in domestication. Nice and simple, children can follow it. People can get a good overview of the subject in the first few paragraphs. The second is the full definition for those who wish to delve deeper into the subject and the Sykes secondary citation gives its history. It is a compromise to bring together the many past definitions used by zoologists, botanists and etymologists - it covers animals, plants and insects. It also sets the scene very well for her now widely accepted 3-pathways theory of animal domestication from 2012, which she expanded to include plants in 2015. (I have not referred to it in the Domestication article because I believe that it needs some further work, yet I was surprised to learn that our plant friends have already reflect it in several secondary sources!) Regards, William Harristalk • 09:26, 2 March 2016 (UTC)
If the definition has changed, I think we should be alerting readers to this in the opening paragraph, rather than giving them one definition and then asking them to consider another one much later in the article. By the way, do you not consider insects to be animals? DrChrissy (talk) 15:56, 2 March 2016 (UTC)
Yes, insects are from the phylum Arthropoda within the kingdom of Animalia; they may not be mammals but they certainly are not plants and we share a common ancestor (thanks for the reminder, I needed to add Beekeeping to the linked articles). I do not have a watch on this page as there are others more interested and more capable than I in its safe keeping, and I noticed your post while visiting here on another matter. I suggest that the other editors who frequent this page would be better placed than I to make a decision - how did you envisage the form of the alert in the opening paragraph? Regards, William Harristalk • 08:33, 3 March 2016 (UTC)
Well, be careful on that one; I think some source classify them as semi-domesticated or even non-domesticate. But I've not looked into that in about 8 years, so I'm going by old reading.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  02:06, 4 March 2016 (UTC)

Recent definition[edit]

I have some concerns about the recent edit which has changed the definition of "domestication".

1) This definition appears to be a very recent (2015) primary source. I am not averse whatsoever to the use of primary sources in the main body of text, but don't we really need some time and a secondary source to back up this definition as being widely accepted by other experts?
2) The use of the word "mutualism" means that both the domesticator and the domesticate benefit. How does a broiler chicken benefit from being domesticated?
3) The use of the word "consciously" is extremely problematic. We discuss domestication between ants and fungi. Are we arguing that ants are consciously cultivating the fungus?

DrChrissy (talk) 18:32, 15 May 2016 (UTC)

I am just passing through and found this section. You really need to try to keep yourself up to date with the literature within the discipline of domestication, which I have no intention of attempting to do here. Let me address your point (2), how do chickens benefit? Chickens were once found only in a small part of SE Asia. Their genes are now found across the entire planet, but their ancestors are extinct. In terms of evolutionary biology, that is a benefit. Similar to dogs, which are also found across the planet but the population of lupus that gave rise to them is extinct. The definition section contains a link to Biological mutualism, you might try clicking on it to gain an appreciation. If you have some ethical issues, then there is a section in the article titled "Negative aspects" - feel free to add to it. William Harristalk • 20:56, 18 May 2016 (UTC)
Hmmmm. My understanding is that the ancestral species of the modern chicken hybrid is the red junglefowl (Gallus gallus) which, to the best of my knowledge, is not extinct. The typical domestic broiler chicken lives to only 5-6 weeks of age and never reproduces. How can this be a "benefit"? DrChrissy (talk) 15:33, 19 May 2016 (UTC)
If you seek clarification then I suggest you inform yourself by reading the cited articles, rather than asking others to keep you informed via a talk page on Wikipedia - that is why we cite material. (In my view, the only value this encyclopedia provides is a list of referenced sources - the rest is interpretation, and sometimes conjecture or misadvice via copy-and-paste from suspect webpages.) Living things are born into this world then they die - one way or the other - if you would like to discuss the futility of all life then the philosophy pages are for you. William Harristalk • 21:03, 21 May 2016 (UTC)
I am really not sure about why you seem to be adopting this attitude. Talk pages are there to inform other editors about information related to the article. I am not seeking clarification. I am making a definitive statement that the domestic chicken is derived from the red junglefowl. I am making a definitive statement that the domestic broiler chicken does not benefit from domestication. I'm sorry that you take such a dim view about Wikipedia - I certainly see it as far more than just a list of referenced sources. Regarding the recent definition, I will be editing this to delete the reference to "conscious" unless you or another editor can provide RS that ants or fungi are able to make conscious decisions, or we delete the ant/fungi example. DrChrissy (talk) 22:15, 21 May 2016 (UTC)
I have just noticed you have made the revert I was considering. DrChrissy (talk) 22:26, 21 May 2016 (UTC)
The definition is now what was originally there before another editor changed it outside of what the citation said - thanks to you for flagging it. You appear to be missing my point - Canis lupus is not extinct either, that is not what I said. Just because a human lives to be 80 years old eating broiler chickens then dies, one might ask how that is beneficial as well. From an evolutionary biology point of view, it is about the continuation and wider distribution of genes. Domestication is evolution speeded up (Larson 2014). Your question borders on philosophy and the meaning of life, which is outside the scope of this article. William Harristalk • 23:55, 21 May 2016 (UTC)
I posted my question when our definition of domestication included the word "mutualism" (and it currently still links to Mutualism (biology). Our definition of Mutualism (biology) is Mutualism is the way two organisms of different species exist in a relationship in which each individual benefits from the activity of the other. (my emphasis). I was enquiring what benefits exist for the domesticated broiler chicken, so according to our definition, it is well within the scope of this article. DrChrissy (talk) 15:00, 22 May 2016 (UTC)
Then I suggest that you take your issue with the Wikipedia definition of Biological mutualism to its Talk page, and pose the same question there. Regarding the definition of domestication, you might read the cited articles to ascertain how the domestic chicken - and not just individual broiler chickens - benefit as a whole. One of them is the spread of genes across the planet, thereby enhancing its chances of future survival as a species. There are also other reasons, and the topic is much wider than just chickens. William Harristalk • 09:31, 23 May 2016 (UTC)
I chose the broiler chicken specifically as the chickens we eat are only 5 to 6 weeks old and have not reached reproductive age. The parent stock have been bred to be so large they would not survive in the wild. This is not a "mutual benefit". This form of domestication is a dependancy. They have no future survival as an independent species. This is relevant to this talk page while the link to Mutualism (biology) exists. DrChrissy (talk) 11:22, 23 May 2016 (UTC)
Lovely. When you have read the relevant citations supporting the definition on the Domestication page and understand the implications, then we can have a conversation. Until then, this serves no purpose. William Harristalk • 09:56, 24 May 2016 (UTC)

The first sentence of the article appears to be causing concerns. Does anybody have an opinion on changing the opening sentence to include the entire definition found under the Definition section, so that it would read: Domestication is the scientific theory concerning "a sustained multi-generational, mutualistic relationship in which one organism assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another organism in order to secure a more predictable supply of a resource of interest, and through which the partner organism gains advantage over individuals that remain outside this relationship, thereby benefitting and often increasing the fitness of both the domesticator and the target domesticate." Or should we stay with a simplified, cut down, amended version that is easy to read? William Harristalk • 21:40, 26 May 2016 (UTC)

I like the idea of putting those words (or the concept behind those words) back into the opening. I don't particularly have a strong preference either way, but I think for brevity and clarity's sake, we ought to simplify the wording if possible. I'd be happy to collaborate with you on this. Wolfdog (talk) 02:29, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
Hello Wolfdog, I would be pleased to work with you, and for you to take the lead on this. You already know my strong position - anything written must reflect what the researchers meant if we are to use their citations to support it. Because the topic is contentious, citations will need to appear in the opening, else casual visitors will be tempted to alter it without reading the article to gain an understanding of what it means. We need to be aware that search engines will return the lead sentence (or two) on any www search conducted on the term "domestication" - across the English-speaking world - so I would like to see something concise and accurate. Other key stakeholders with a point of view to be considered are editors DrChrissy and SMcCandlish, who either have a watch or visit here from time to time. I look forward to seeing your proposal on this Talk page. Regards, William Harristalk • 11:37, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
As I have indicated above, I have concerns with this definition including aspects of benefit do the domesticant. In terms of fitness, there are domestic cattle, turkeys, and chickens all who can not breed without the direct intervention of humans. By removing these aspects. we could shorten the definition to - ..."a sustained multi-generational, mutualistic relationship in which one organism assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another organism in order to secure a more predictable supply of a resource of interest. , and through which the partner organism gains advantage over individuals that remain outside this relationship, thereby benefitting and often increasing the fitness of both the domesticator and the target domesticate." DrChrissy (talk) 13:35, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
I'm happy with DrChrissy's abbreviation of the sentence. I agree that the benefit issue is a complex and controversial one to be expounded upon later in the article. William Harris, do you feel that DrChrissy's suggested edit accurately reflects the original meaning with integrity, without bias, etc.? Wolfdog (talk)
Hello Wolfdog, I am happy with the reduction in size, however I am not happy with the removal of the word "mutualistic". The full definition, and each of its included elements, are supported by primary, secondary and tertiary sources - including the Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology - that meet the requirements of WP:CITE, WP:VERIFY and WP:RELIABLE. I supply to you the results of a search in Google Scholar on the words mutualism domestication [11] that returns 8 pages of relevant citations. It is clear that mutualism has been a key tenant of modern domestication theory for the past 20 years, and I have yet to be provided with one citation that rebuts mutualism being so. Yet, we are to reject all of these researchers and their findings on the basis of what, exactly? Regards, William Harristalk • 09:31, 2 June 2016 (UTC)................(PS: Don't get me started on a search on the words fitness domestication - I stopped counting after 15 pages.)
Zeder's own proposed definition certainly includes mutualism; however, at the same time, Zeder also recognizes alternative perspectives: "Domestication is frequently defined from the perspective of the domesticator, emphasizing the role of humans in separating a target domesticate from free-living populations and assuming mastery over all aspects of its life cycle. Domestication has also been viewed as a mutualistic, symbiotic relationship that benefits both domesticator and domesticate..."
User:William Harris is right that mutualism comes up a lot in discussions regarding the definition of domestication (see here, for yet another example I found). However, our exact contention here seems to be: Is mutualism a prerequisite or imperative for defining domestication? (If yes, then obviously it should appear immediately in the opening sentence, otherwise it can be discussed elsewhere.)
The definitions proposed in the following sources do NOT mention mutualism by any name or consider the domesticate-benefiting theory necessary to the definition:
  • Genetics and the Behavior of Domestic Animals -- "Domestication is the process whereby populations of animals change genetically and phenotypically in response to the selection pressure associated with a life under human supervision" (42). (FOCUS IS ON ANIMALS - IT FORGETS ABOUT THE PLANT KINGDOM - CROPS, FOREST PLANTATIONS, MUSHROOM FARMS - WGH)
  • National Geographic -- "Domestication is the process of adapting wild plants and animals for human use. [...] Domesticated plants and animals must be raised and cared for by humans. Domesticated species are not wild." (DOES NOT INCLUDE COMMENSUALS - THE WOLF WAS NOT ADAPTED FOR HUMAN USE - WGH)
  • Dictionary.com -- Domesticate: "to tame (an animal), especially by generations of breeding, to live in close association with human beings as a pet or work animal and usually creating a dependency so that the animal loses its ability to live in the wild" [my italics]. (TAME IS NOT DOMESTICATED, A LION CAN BE TAMED BUT THAT DOES NOT MAKE IT DOMESTICATED - WGH)
  • Encyclopædia Britannica -- "Domestication, the process of hereditary reorganization of wild animals and plants into domestic and cultivated forms according to the interests of people. In its strictest sense, it refers to the initial stage of human mastery of wild animals and plants. The fundamental distinction of domesticated animals and plants from their wild ancestors is that they are created by human labour to meet specific requirements or whims and are adapted to the conditions of continuous care and solicitude people maintain for them." (DOES NOT INCLUDE THE FIRST TWO OF THE THREE PATHWAYS - WGH)
Furthermore, the source Social Zooarchaeology: Humans and Animals in Prehistory discusses both definitions, demonstrating some of the nuances. Wolfdog (talk) 19:34, 2 June 2016 (UTC)
Wolfdog, thanks very much for looking into this. I am much more comfortable with these types of definitions which focus on the actions of humans (and I think this is what would be expected by the vast majority of readers who would not understand the ant/fungus "domestication" relationship). There are, of course, examples where the domestication process is mutualistic, but there are so many questions about the benefits received by the domesticant that I feel any definition including the term will attract repeated attacks in the future. I feel we should move the definition back to a human oriented one, but of course, other definitions and interpretations can be discussed in the body of the article. DrChrissy (talk) 21:51, 2 June 2016 (UTC)
See my comments in brackets against each point. It would appear that the definitions people are most comfortable with are those that have been superceded by what we know from archaeology and ancient DNA. Please have a read through the section in the article on "Domestication of animals" then re-read these definitions - I put it to you that they are from the past and no longer fit with the content of the article. Chrissy when you say the definition should be more human oriented, the current definition in the first line of the article is human oriented, is it not? To be clear, that is what we are talking about here, we are not talking about changing the definition given in the Definition section. Regards, William Harristalk • 22:16, 2 June 2016 (UTC)
No, it is about a "mutualistic relationship". The definitions suggested by Wolfdog are "humans selecting animals and plants" - something which I believe we should return to.DrChrissy (talk) 22:25, 2 June 2016 (UTC)
Firstly, what do you mean by "No..." what is it you are saying no to? William Harristalk • 22:43, 2 June 2016 (UTC)
My "no" was in reply to your question about the first sentence of the article being human oriented. It is not. DrChrissy (talk) 22:48, 2 June 2016 (UTC)
OK, thanks for clarifying. Given that the full definition provided in the "Definition" section of the body of the article is not to change, that there appears to be no other interested parties in this matter, and that our discussion has prompted me to provide further elaboration of the 3 pathways (my recent edit), then I will go with your proposal - Wolfdog as leader to make the necessary amendment. Regards, William Harristalk • 23:45, 2 June 2016 (UTC)
I am happy to defend the definitions I bulleted... except for the ones that focus ONLY on animals or ONLY on plants, which I agree are shortsighted (let me know if that interests you); otherwise, we now seem to be at the point of wording the opening sentence. I would still make some changes. Here was Chrisy's suggestion followed by my own (with my edits in square brackets):
  • "Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one organism assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another organism to secure a more predictable supply of a resource of interest."
  • "Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one [group of] organism[s] assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another [group] to secure a more predictable supply of [resources {from that second group?}]."
My edits here intend to avoid the idea of simple one-on-one taming (as in WH's interpretation of the Dictionary.com definition) in which one individual is taming another; on the contrary, this wording might better clarify that whole groups are influencing other groups across generations. Is there anything else that needs to be added or amended? Wolfdog (talk) 00:20, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
I do not use Dictionary.com and am unclear of what definition you refer to. I used Zeder's definition, therefore I would prefer to stay with the term "organism" as she wrote it, else we will need to remove the supporting citations in the first line, and we all know how that will end - not well. Once again, taming is not domestication - we say so in the article and describe the difference (chapter "Domestication" of animals, para 2, line 1). So your first point would be my preference due to both its accuracy and its longevity. Regards, William Harristalk • 03:04, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
  • (By the way, the term "tame" is also used in other dictionaries, like the Oxford English dictionaries.) Wolfdog (talk) 20:21, 7 June 2016 (UTC)
Change made as per Wolfdog's suggestion and citations removed to avoid inaccurate referencing (cites are not needed in the lead). DrChrissy (talk) 21:42, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
Nor can it be cited because it was cobbled together by both of you (above) as your original thoughts, now forms original research, and can be subject to challenge under WP:NOR. William Harristalk • 09:56, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
WH.... Not sure what you mean by "cobbled together," and the "original research" label seems unjustified. Paraphrasing is a widely used and accepted scholarly method for taking the meaning of an author's words and putting it into one's own words, as long as the original author is credited. In fact, paraphrasing is presumably THE main method for citing material on Wikipedia (see WP:PARAPHRASE). We haven't at all changed the meaning by simply, in our opinion, making the phrasing clearer. However, DrChrissy, I certainly think we should put the citation back in the lede; close-paraphrasing requires an inline citation to avoid being plagiaristic, regardless of whether it's in the lede or not. Wolfdog (talk) 14:15, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
I agree totally about the paraphrasing - that is what we are here to do as editors. I agree also about adding a citation/s. Could I leave this to you, please. The list of definitions you gave all relate to humans domesticating other organisms, but we have used "organisms domesticating other organisms". I believe your knowledge of the subject matter is considerably superior to mine. This might require multiple citations to indicate we are paraphrasing several sources. DrChrissy (talk) 14:27, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
Paraphrased from whom? Zeder 2012 was based on Zeder 2006, where she expanded on mutualism as the key principle in domestication based on earlier work (some of that 8 pages of citations supporting mutualism that I have mentioned above). You both have agreed to drop it out because one of you believes that instead of mutualism occurring at the species-level (as per the definition of biological mutualism), that all individual members of Gallus gallus are broiler chickens and that is not a mutual relationship, as if production-line broiler chickens represent the entire species. That there are breeders/fanciers/geneticists/zoos/research institutions that continue to improve the stain well beyond its wild cousin, and feed it regularly, protect it from predators, care and provide veterinary assistance to it so that the improved strain can spread its genes across the planet to help ensure its survival, appears to have been overlooked. It was domesticated 6,000 YBP and did not become a livestock species until 2,000 years ago. The opening definition no longer reflects Zeder and cannot bear her citation. You have deleted biological mutualism from the definition and have now convinced yourselves that this is paraphrasing what she said - it is not. William Harristalk • 23:55, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
No, we are not paraphrasing a single source (Zeder), we are paraphrasing several definitions. DrChrissy (talk) 14:29, 5 June 2016 (UTC)
Perhaps, but my point was that Zeder cannot be used as a supporting citation. William Harristalk • 20:58, 5 June 2016 (UTC)
I see. WH, you're arguing that by removing the word "mutualistic" from the definition, we have removed the most essential/foundational kernel from that definition. In this case, indeed it would be preferable to paraphrase a definition that doesn't already start with the idea of mutualism. Unfortunately, all of the sources I found are limited, including even the one that WH seemed most approving of, calling it the "closest," because it still excludes plants, fungi, etc. The Zeder definition is more inclusive in that it uses the term "organism." In any case, I'm adding back the citation. If we feel a note must be added that the term "mutualistic" is not included due to contentions, then so be it... at least for now. Wolfdog (talk) 20:21, 7 June 2016 (UTC)