Evidence for Pre-Columbian animal domestication in the New World

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Authors
Johnson, D.L.
Swartz, B.K.
Issue Date
1990
Type
Article
Language
en_US
Keywords
Animal domestication , Pre-Columbian , Domesticated , Dogs , Canis , Canine
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Abstract

The criteria traditionally used to determine animal domestication were proposed by Galton (1865:134,136) and are: (1) economic usefulness to man; (2) the ability to breed freely under confinement; and (3) the ease by which they are tended (tameness). Of these, captive breeding is crucial and will be used in this study, although usefulness is also i~portant. Tameness is not vital to domestication and may be impossible to prove, as in the case of apiculture, where the animals cannot be safely handled. Here we will discuss seven animals domesticated in the New World before European discovery. The dog, "llama", guinea pig, turkey, Muscovy duck, stingless bee, and the cochineal insect comprise the list of known PreColumbian, New World animal domesticates. We will present and evaluate the evidence, both archaeological and documentary, for domestication of these seven animals, including bone morphology; associated paraphernalia of domestication, such as stone corrals, sacrificial burials, pottery, figurines; and the writtings of European conquerors, explorers, naturalists, missionaries, ethnographers, and the native peoples themselves.

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Citation
Johnson, D.L. and Swartz, B.K. (1990). Evidence for Pre-Columbian animal domestication in the New World. -- Lambda Alpha Journal, v.21, p.42-54.
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Lambda Alpha Anthropology Honors Society at Wichita State University
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ISSN
0047-3928
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