So in this book series I'm writing (link here if you want to know more about that), there is this planet called Ryu 108. The planet is made up of two continents. The southern continent is heavily forested and resembles Sweden. The northern continent is heavily glaciated and volcanic at the same time, resembling Iceland. Both continents are inhabited by a culture based on the Norse/Vikings, and have had Viking age technology for thousands of years.

The northern continent is home to vast herds of wooly mammoths, megaloceros, and wooly rhinos, with packs of mutant direwolves the size of small horses prowling around, along with the occasional cave bear or ice wyvern. Is it possible for the inhabitants of this planet to have domesticated at least a few of these creatures the way humans have domesticated horses or dogs? If so, what uses would a Norse-based society have for these creatures?

  • $\begingroup$ If you ware looking for the uses of the more unique pleistocene megafauna you might want to ask about that separately, something along the lines of "assuming X could be domesticated what use would it have and what special considerations would they need." $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Sep 7, 2018 at 17:00
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    $\begingroup$ You might find this question interesting when it comes to deciding which animals to domesticate: What land based animals lend themselves to domestication? $\endgroup$
    – Philipp
    Commented Sep 8, 2018 at 1:52

3 Answers 3


Most animals domesticated in Real Life tend to have the following attribute: The ability to socialice.

Dogs/wolves, cows and horses tend to have some kind of social pecking order. Wolves have their pack with alpha male/female, cows have a social circle inside the herd, and then the herd as a whole, and horses have their own hierarchy inside the herd (e.g. a lead stallion). Humans used these social structures to put themselves on top, so that the animals regard them as leader now.

As long as one or more of the animals on your planet have this attribute, it would be realistic to say that your vikings will use them.

But how would they use them? We are using animals for three different reasons:
1. Their meat:
As long as i can eat that meat, and i can make them reproduce on their own, i have a steady supply for meat.
2. Products:
We are using todays sheep for wool, chickens for eggs, and cows for milk. If your animals produce similar things, your vikings will most likely want to have it.
3. Work force:
Horses as transport for people or cargo, dogs as companions for hunting. If you want to do something exotic, use the mammoths as a means for transport!


Possible to domesticate

Yes, as long as you the world creator want them domesticated. If dogs could be, then dire wolves are reasonable. Elephants are partly domesticated, so Woolly Mammoth are reasonable.


Dire dogs are useful as hunting companions and camp guards; and probably for war too if your Vikings are into that. Wooly mammoths are useful as work animals and for milk and fiber (i.e. wool).

In this case, neither animal is optimal for meat, due to carnivorous diet (dire wolves) or slow reproduction (all the other megafauna). If you want a meat species in keeping with your ice age theme there are reindeer, musk ox, wild horses (also useful for riding, obviously), and the creatures that were domesticated for meat, wild boar and aurochs.

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    $\begingroup$ note elephants are only tamed not domesticated, but yeah since the author decides the temperament they decide if they can domesticated. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Sep 7, 2018 at 16:47
  • $\begingroup$ Just as a side note, I kind of wonder what cheese made from mammoth milk would taste like? $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 7, 2018 at 18:41
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    $\begingroup$ A squad of war mammoths carrying Vikings would be a sight. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 7, 2018 at 22:04
  • $\begingroup$ Not one I would want to stick around for mind you. $\endgroup$
    – TCAT117
    Commented Sep 8, 2018 at 1:36
  • $\begingroup$ Unless I am on their side :P $\endgroup$
    – DarthDonut
    Commented Sep 8, 2018 at 12:16

Plow mammoth.

elephant pulling plow https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/190206784232307706/

Animal power is invaluable for pulling a plow. Pulling a plow was one of the earliest use of domesticated animals. Elephants are fine at this. Your mammoths could do this.

Your vikings will clear the forests, break up the soil with help from mammoths, and plant crops. Crops are not very exciting but they make a world more plausible.

For exciting alt-Vikings and their domesticated beasts, I refer you to the Rumpleminze Valkyrie.

rumplemintze valkyrie https://www.pinterest.com/pin/245798092146141505/


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