Keeping Wild Animals

1.2.1 Environmental Knowledge

In the Mesolithic period (10,000-8000 B.C.), which followed the end of the last Ice Age, humans were preliterate food gatherers, hunters, and fishers living in small social groups. During this era these groups developed distinct cultures, improved their tool technology, and exploited natural resources. They advanced socially, intellectually, and technologically as they adapted to the challenges of a changing environment, caused by the ending Ice Age with its climatic changes and accompanying changes in local flora and fauna distributions.4,5 It was also a time when humans began refining their aesthetic appreciation for music, art (figurines, drawings, and decorative pottery) and luxury items (jewelry).6-9

While still rudimentary, aesthetic and intellectual interests in nature were parts of a broader environmental knowledge that, among other things, laid the foundation for keeping animals. Humans accumulated knowledge about their natural surroundings over many generations and each social group became increasingly familiar with the local animals, plants, habitats, and

Historical Periods and the Environmental Activities Characterizing Them

10,000-8000 b.c.

Small social groups

(Mesolithic period)

Environmental knowledge (an integration of science, religion, and

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