Domestication (noun, “Doh-MESS-tih-CAY-shun”, verb, “domesticate”)
This is the process of taking a wild organism and taming it or otherwise making it useful to people. An animal can be domesticated to be a pet — such as a dog or hamster — or to provide food or work, like with a cow, horse or chicken. Domesticated animals are bred in captivity, have to be fed by humans and are usually comfortable around people. Getting from wild to domesticated isn’t a fast process. Turning a wild wolf into a Chihuahua took thousands of years of breeding and selection.
Plants have also been domesticated. Like with animals, the process takes a long while. But it has produced many of the plants we eat, from corn to cabbage.
In a sentence
More than 9,000 years ago, African wildcats took up chasing house mice — and started their own domestication.
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