I’m just finishing up this insightful and well researched book by archaeozoologist Juliet Clutton-Brock. It gets pretty deep into the differences between domesticated animals and their wild progenitors, and especially into the discussion of the fact that fully domesticated animals (think dogs, sheep, goats, cattle, pigs and horses, as opposed to “exploited captives”) bred within captivity within a limited population over a multitude of generations became entirely new species. The argument presented is that even when they escape back into the wild, they can only become feral, never truly wild. Too much of their original form (particular wild adaptions, genetic diversity across their population, etc.) has been lost.
So at the risk of opening a really big can of worms…
What about domesticated humans? Are we deluded to think we are unaffected by a similar watering-down process? Perhaps it is in fact impossible for us to become “rewilded”, and instead we can only hope (at most) to become feral through any efforts to cast aside civilized living.
Interested to hear people’s thoughts.