216

Not really. Traditionally when an army ran low on supplies, the men would start eating the mounts. When an army with bears starts to run low on supplies, the mounts would start eating the men. This could be really bad for morale. Conventional domesticated herd/pack animals tend to remain passive when hungry, bears not so much.


130

Yes, but you have to flesh out your fictional world around it. Lets assume your world has bear cavalry. That is a - fictional - fact (sic). Lets also assume that this has been so for some centuries. There is a tradition of bear cavalry, and the kinks have already been solved. Your bears are not only domesticated, but also selective bred from wild bear ...


52

The key reason why this is not feasible, is down to endurance - Horses, Elephants and Camelids are native to areas with large plains, and migrations - they are effectively built to last for travel between points - which makes them ideal as beasts of burden. Bears, on the other hand, are built to conserve energy - they are (mostly) native to areas where there ...


52

Actual brazillian here. The reason why you won't find any mountable animals in the amazon rain forest is because it's kinda like a more green, lush version of Australia, in the aspect that half of the biomass is out to kill you in horrible ways. It is a [redacted] to go through the jungle, on foot or otherwise. And the river waters can be classified in ...


43

You are in luck. An experiment to better understand the domestication process was conducted on the Russian Red Fox. The project lead explained: Belyayev believed that the key factor selected for in the domestication of dogs was not size or fertility, but behavior: specifically, tameability. Since behavior is rooted in biology, selecting for tameness and ...


39

There a number of criteria necessary for an animal to be domesticated. 1. Varied diet This one's okay. Bonnethead sharks are omnivores, and other carnivorous ones such as tiger sharks are highly opportunistic (I'm sure you've heard of the kinds of human rubbish they eat). Due to their opportunism, I'd say that many species of shark would certainly eat ...


38

As the OP talked about domesticated animals I think bear cavalry is feasible overall. I think domesticating bears should work out quite fine: bears belong to the same suborder as wolves/dogs, which were domesticated very successfully (and were also used in war, to a certain extent!). Also bears have been famously displayed in various circus/movies/shows ...


36

Giant Ant Cows to replace Human Cows The aphid (otherwise known as Ant Cow) is a small insect that feeds on plant sap and secretes a sweet nectar (called honeydew). Certain species are actually domesticated by ants. The ants herd them and protect them from predators, harvesting the honeydew for food. Upscale the aphids and make the honeydew nutritious to ...


35

No, but plenty of their relatives can A moose or elk would die in the high heat and with limited resistance to insects and such. They simply aren't designed for the rainforest. However, there are plenty of animals large enough to mount that are native to a rainforest, and a rainforest alone. Bongo Lowland Anoa Okapi These animals are not domesticated, so ...


31

You quote Diamond, in a video. But he did discuss your further question in a book ("Guns, Germs and Steel"), I don't know if you saw it or what the video covers. In the book, he examines the natural resources available in prehistory on each continent (originating seeds/plants, animals suitable for human needs as food or labour, etc) and their usefulness for ...


31

In the cat vs. fox issue, cleanliness may be key. In the recent Russian fox domestication experiment, it seems that a big drawback of adopting the domesticated foxes is they cannot be housebroken (search domestic fox housebroken for many reports). Cats, on the other hand, are obsessive about burying waste. Even adult feral cats, who are effectively wild ...


30

I'll give the serious answer, because apparently nobody else wrote it. Bear cavalry is a no-go for about the same reason that we do not raise bears for meat. After all, a bear can be fed with just about anything, and grows quickly, and thus should be a good source of food. But it has a big drawback, which is that bears don't tolerate well other bears. You ...


30

It's a bit of a side-step of the question, but there's no reason we need to domesticate solitary cats if all our dogs and wolves are dead. There are plenty of social cats who could be bent to our will. Lions are one option, but probably a bad one as they're so big. I'd posit that hyenas are the next best option. They're highly social endurance-predating ...


26

A lot of people have mentioned that endurance is a problem in bears, but the truth is that what evidence there is suggests otherwise. I won't be answering the question completely here, but I will discuss the endurance of the bears. Let's first establish their suitability over short distances. This source says that grizzlies: have considerable endurance, ...


26

Farmer traits: Fecundity. If you are a farmer you are more likely to have food than if you are a hunter/gatherer. If you have food it is less likely the kids will starve. If you have lots of kids who are not starving you have more people to help with the farm work. Patience and focus. There is a theory that attention deficit disorder is an old ...


26

Dogs are descended from wolves. The first domesticated dogs were likely wolves. There are several reasons it would make more sense to domesticate wolves than foxes. Wolves generally hunt in packs, foxes generally hunt solo Early humans would have seen the social behavior and realized the pack was similar to their own tribe. It wouldn't be too long ...


24

In my story, there is a civilization living in the Amazon rainforest. They need some time of mount that is adapted to the forest. There are Buffalos in the Amazon (in the Brazilian state of Pará) and they can be used to mount: They live primarily near farmlands (in the Amazon region), but they have been adapted to live in the same climate as the forest. ...


21

I think yes...but a few considerations. I'd almost refer to an old answer about using buffalo as heavy cavalry, I'll link that after the post. First to consider is the relationship with man that birds have compared to horses. Somewhere along the way in the domesticated horse, a relationship with humans became core to it...they seek us and our ...


21

Wolves and ravens. http://www.whitewolfpack.com/2011/12/wolves-and-ravens-curious-relationship.html http://canislupus101.blogspot.com/p/wolves-ravens.html Very few mammals have symbiotic relationships with other animals. One of the few exceptions is the raven and the wolf. Ravens are sometimes known as "wolf-birds" because they form social ...


20

Sounds impractical at best. These humans use sharks for a number of things, specifically to hunt for food. Call me Mr. Obvious, but if we've domesticated sharks and we need food, what's wrong with shark meat ? :-) Hunters ride on the backs of sharks A human "riding" a shark is essentially the shark carrying a packed lunch with them. This sounds ...


18

I'm going to avoid some of the issues which have already been covered by some of the excellent answers upthread, and focus on the key issue: you want bear cavalry. Bears are not well shaped for riding, have a strange "rolling" gate when running (which would make riding a real challenge) and tend to rear up to fight with claws and teeth, which negates the ...


18

It is definitely plausible. Most importantly, the domestication should be the result of a symbiosis between the species. A mutually beneficial relationship that naturally develops. In my mind I would say a few prerequisites should be established to help facilitate this symbiosis, primary of which is that the two species should live in close proximity, ...


17

I'm surprised that nobody has brought up honeypot ants. They are social (unlike most insects), which, given breeding and domestication can be used by humans similarly to the way we use domestic animals inherent socialization instincts (dogs-packs, horses-herds, etc) by substituting humans for the instinctual social group. Honeypot ants are literally ...


17

First of all, an Ostrich hen can lay 40 – 60 eggs per year, averaging about 45-50 eggs per year. That’s the largest number I found and probably reflects domesticated farm-bred birds, which lay more. In this environment, they can all produce at this rate rather than the dominant female doing better, like in nature. This would be the case in your society as ...


17

What I need to do is make cats as a species to be more subservient to our will, and have that translate into present day. How can I make this work? Domestic cats are available everywhere. You can make them more subservient to your will by training them. It's already been done, many times. All you have to do is search for 'cat circus' on Youtube. Here ...


16

Some of the traits that come to mind: • microscopic vision - to find out what pathogens affect their crops • night vision - to detect insects even if they are active only by night • photographic memory - to remember the various stages of the hundreds of pests affecting basic crops: life cycle of bacteria, fungi and insects to ensure they apply the ...


16

First and foremost you should breed for docility, this is a trait required for domestication. My answer is basically looking at existing primarily non-food farm animals (like horses) and breed for those traits (they may also be eaten so more edible varieties are also likely to be bred). Strength, endurance, and size; if you are breeding a hominid for farm ...


15

The best choices here are actually not going to be that exciting but there are many options around the globe for transportation/pack animals. Around the globe, you have camels, donkeys, llamas, oxen, reindeer, elephants and water buffaloes. Some potential options that I don't think have been done before are american bison, Elk, and moose. The idea of a ...


15

I actually have a very exact answer for you. It would take about 20 generations (or less then 20 years if you prefer). How do I know? Because we already did it. Of course this is a non-domesticated earth mammal. If your talking a truly alien species there are questions about how they evolved which could play a role in how easy they are to domesticate; a ...


15

If it would be practical, our ancestors probably would have done it. But they haven't. What stopped them? Mammoths and elepants need to eat several kilograms of grass and other plant material each day to survive. That forces the people to move constantly in a nomadic lifestyle and it sets an upper number of individuals in a sustainable herd. Your humans ...


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