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Thread: Most useful animals to humankind

  1. #1 Most useful animals to humankind 
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    Hey! I was hoping to get a discussion going on what everybody thought were the top animal contributors to humankind's existence/success of the biosphere in general. For example, the house cat, while amazingly popular [in some places] is hardly beneficial on a survival scale, while animals like the chicken, cow and horse have been staples of survival for millennia. Others like the bee and earthworm are immensely vital, but often left out of discussions. What do you guys think? [Also, are there any negative staple animals that you think should be included, for reasons of, for example, necessary population control?]
    -Thanks!


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    Forum Sophomore laza's Avatar
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    bacteria, if we consider all life


    jrmonroe and sculptor like this.
    "There is grandeur in this view of life,from so simple beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”
    Charles Darwin
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    Forum Freshman Crimson Sunbird's Avatar
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    I would say horses, donkeys, camels, and beasts of burden in general. Before the invention of motor transport (and even today in places where motorized transportation isn’t generally found) you could hardly get anywhere without them.
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  5. #4  
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    Mr Piano, yes bees and earthworms would deserve to be high on the list. Laza pointing to bacteria is probably valid. At a fundamental level they are essential, although that would be true for virtually all species.

    Cats have been credited with reducing the spread of bubonic plague, which was thought to be worse where superstitions about cats prevented people sharing their homes with them or saw them killed or driven out. Also by reducing loss and spoilage by rats and mice in granaries, so I don't agree that they have been merely decorative. Dogs probably go a long way back in human history, even before being fully domesticated. They probably lived in association with hunter gatherer groups, warning of approaching people and predators and accompanied and, through learning mutually beneficial behaviors, aided hunting parties. They too probably reduced rat and mice populations and reduced losses of stored food.
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    Malignant Pimple shlunka's Avatar
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    Honey bees? Not taking into account simple bacteria.
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    Dogs, without the relationship with dogs it's debatable whether homosapiens would have become the dominant species on earth.
    Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it. - confucius
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    Malignant Pimple shlunka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Dogs, without the relationship with dogs it's debatable whether homosapiens would have become the dominant species on earth.
    I think wolves would be a more suitable choice in this category, as most, perhaps all breeds can be traced back to wolves.
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    Ascended Member Ascended's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shlunka View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Dogs, without the relationship with dogs it's debatable whether homosapiens would have become the dominant species on earth.
    I think wolves would be a more suitable choice in this category, as most, perhaps all breeds can be traced back to wolves.
    Do the Eyes Have It? » American Scientist

    This article gives a really interesting look at how the possibilty of our relationship helped us become the dominant species.
    Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it. - confucius
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  10. #9  
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    The house cat likely played a big role to help preserve grain stores, by eating the grain loving rats and mice. This also would have cut down diseases.

    ==
    The dogs ability to hunt, herd, and act as watch, offer protection as well as food when times got really bad, probably puts them at the top of the list.
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    Northern Horse Whisperer Moderator scheherazade's Avatar
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    Many animals have assisted mankind and contributed to our success and which animal one might consider the most influential would likely depend on one's cultural experiences.

    There is a category of 'animal' that remains as important today as ever it was and that would be fish and seafood.

    Fish and fish products are consumed as food all over the world. With other seafoods, it provides the world's prime source of high-quality protein: 14% to 16% of the animal protein consumed worldwide. Over one billion people rely on fish as their primary source of animal protein.
    fish and fish by-products in Africa, Fishnet Africa
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    Northern Horse Whisperer Moderator scheherazade's Avatar
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    The horse is largely credited with the rapid expansion of humans across much of the globe and the domestic dog and cat have been protectors of hearth and harvest as well as popular companion animals or pets but perhaps the most 'useful' animals are those that have formed the majority of the protein in our diet. The introduction of animal protein in our diet has been hypothesized to account for the increase in human brain size so offhand, I would suggest that our larger brain capacity has perhaps been of greatest benefit to the existence of our species. Several animals have contributed to our diet and depending on where you reside, which one has contributed most tends to vary.

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  13. #12  
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    Pigs ! I love bacon !!

    As for cats although pretty useless today they had their uses in the past. e.g. rodent control!
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  14. #13  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    Since humans are animals, they are the most useful to each other in order to survive together.
    When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.
    Jimi Hendrix
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  15. #14  
    Life-Size Nanoputian Flick Montana's Avatar
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    Homo ergaster?
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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