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review 2018-03-19 23:18
Domesticated by Richard C Francis
Domesticated: Evolution in a Man-Made World - Richard C. Francis

This book and I got off to a rocky start because I didn't really learn anything new in the chapter about foxes and then I got a little overwhelmed by all the dog breeds and landraces in the dog chapter. Each chapter focuses on either a single domesticated (or somewhat tamed) animal or related groups of animals, from dogs and cats to camels and ultimately humans. It discusses the changes that that particular animal experienced relative to its wild counterpart and the commonalities between domesticated animals, like a lessened fear response to both humans and "crowds" of its own species and neotenic features (juvenile behavioural or physical attributes that persist into adulthood).


Humans, you say? How could we be domesticated? By whom? Well, apparently some people have wondered whether some of our evolution away from the other apes was due to a kind of self-domestication process that would have brought out attributes common to other domesticated animals in us. After discussion various aspects of this theory, Francis has this to say:

"Whatever its ultimate fate, the self-domestication hypothesis is valuable in reorienting our focus somewhat from our singular intelligence to our emotional constitution, which is every bit as singular. Our pro-social emotional tendencies are what afford human groups unrivaled capacities for coordinated action and, ultimately, our capacity for culture. Intelligence is secondary in this regard. Spock-like creatures, much more intelligent than we are, would never have achieved what we have, for lack of motivation."

Doesn't that give you the warm fuzzies?


Anyway, my attention waxed and waned a bit as my interest peaked and ebbed according to the topic, but overall I think it's a great book that discusses the process of domestication intelligently. I'm kind of curious about the author's other books now too, although I'm not sure whether they'd be as interesting as this.


Previous updates (and boy are there a lot):

48 / 351 pages (dog chapter)

50 / 351 pages (dog chapter: bulldog/breeding quotes)

53 / 351 pages (cat chapter: Sylvester the cat quote)

58 / 351 pages (cat chapter: cat teeth quote)

82 / 351 pages (other predators chapter: raccoons in Toronto)

166 / 351 pages (sheep and goats chapter: Jacob sheep quote)

199 / 351 pages (camel chapter: camel protest quote)

200 / 351 pages (camel chapter: war camels)

245 / 351 pages (rodents chapter: mice as weeds)

248 / 351 pages (rodents chapter: popcorn-like jumping mice quote)

284 / 351 pages (humans - sociality chapter: evolutionary psychology dig)

351 / 351 pages (done!)

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text 2018-03-18 16:10
Kill Your Darlings (Yellow team)
World of Trouble: The Last Policeman Book III - Ben H. Winters


It never occurred to me to indicate what team i was on.

Fixed.  : )


After some thought, I'm going to use this one for a Victim card.

Henry rarely, if ever steps on the bad side, sometimes to his own detriment.





Henry is incredibly single minded.

His sister got duped big time.

As long he's sniffing out 'stuff' Cortez is happy a as a clam most of the time. 

Henry was smart enough to leave the dog behind safe with an Amish family.


At least the whining didn't last long.


I can only use one at a time unless I'm collecting, so I'm going to hold this one for a bit.

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text 2018-03-17 18:27
Red Game Round 7 Guess (Kill Your Darlings)
Domesticated: Evolution in a Man-Made World - Richard C. Francis

I'm using Domesticated to guess "near a tor, Dartmoor" as the last crime scene for the Red Game (read a book with an image of an animal on the cover).

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text 2018-03-17 18:19
Reading progress update: I've read 351 out of 351 pages.
Domesticated: Evolution in a Man-Made World - Richard C. Francis

Done! A review will have to wait till later because I have plans today, but the gist of it will be that I recommend the book!

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text 2018-03-17 16:55
Reading progress update: I've read 284 out of 351 pages.
Domesticated: Evolution in a Man-Made World - Richard C. Francis

"Many questions about human cognitive evolution may remain forever unanswered, by the standards of mainstream evolutionary biology, especially those concerning what past selection was for. We need to acknowledge at the outset that the self-domestication hypothesis may fall into this category.


This counsel of humility, given the obstacles just described, goes completely unheeded by many, especially those prone to making bold claims about human nature based on the slightest evidence that a trait is adaptive. From human ethology to sociobiology to evolutionary psychology, there has been an overwhelming tendency to blithely ignore the evidential standards of mainstream evolutionary biology. Evolutionary psychologists are in many ways the worst offenders; the assumptions that distinguish evolutionary psychology from its predecessors provide quite effective insulation from empirical assault."


I like this guy.

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