Re: Why Not a Planet Of The Apes?

Robin Hanson (
Tue, 10 Jun 1997 14:41:52 -0700 (PDT)

Carl Feynman writes:
>>we don't really know it takes [300 yrs], ... new high tech might help
>I think we do know it takes that long, if not many times longer. All the
>really useful domesticated species I know of have been the object of
>deliberate breeding for at least five hundred years. . Two cases
>where I might be wrong are carp, turkeys ... a counterexample ...
>lab rats and white mice have both been domesticated in the last
>century. ... these species have very short generation times. So ...
>no species has been domesticated in less than 500 generations. Here
>my definition of 'domesticated' is that I would walk through a paddock
>occupied by several of them, that I didn't know personally, without
>being worried.

Again, you may be right, but this seems to be just speculation. We
don't know how long it took to reach your (reasonable) definition of
domestication, nor how many individuals (both humans and others) were
involved in the effort. I understand that "scientific" breeding in
modern farms has improved greatly over older intuitive breeding. And
it stands to reason that great further improvements will be possible
when we can cheaply read out the entire genome of each individual in a
breeding program, match them with detailed behavioral data, and
even splice together desired trial genomes.

Robin D. Hanson