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The Evolution of Animals through Domestication and other Human Relationships: An Animal-Centered Approach

  • Author(s): Ammerman, Steven Michael
  • Advisor(s): Smith, Monica L.
  • et al.
Abstract

As a component of the environment themselves, humans maintain a mutualistic modifying process with that environment. The interaction between humans and animals has led to different categories of relationships—commensal animals, tame animals, domesticated animals, and feral animals. In the study of human-animal interactions, the foremost consideration is how the niche construction of humans affects the evolutionary trajectory of other animals, but other animals also construct niches within this human-impacted environment to enhance their survival. The concept of niche construction provides a useful way of thinking about how humans and animals interact in the environment because this concept considers physical changes, behavioral changes, and cultural changes. In an animal-centered approach, consideration of how the traits and actions of animals play an active role in allowing and encouraging their ongoing relationships with humans is just as important as the consideration of actions of humans.

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