The origin and ancestors of pigs


The wild boar is the ancestor of pigs, but in order to achieve the modern look, it had to undergo a centuries-old evolution. It is the result of human activity at the same time as natural selection. There are a large number of species and species of these domestic artiodactyls in the world. It can be concluded that there was a variety of forms of ancient wild animals together with domestication and enhanced selection. There are also two branches, Asian and European, that influenced the origin of the common domestic pig.

History tour

In the Middle East, wild boar began to be domesticated about 13,000 years ago. This is indicated by archaeological excavations. But these were only the first steps at the stage of the origin of the pigs, and the animals were kept in semi-wild state. In the modern world, this method is found in New Guinea.

The remains of pigs that lived more than 11,000 years ago were found in Cyprus. Scientists have suggested that people transported them from the mainland and tried to domesticate. And 8,000 years ago, they started doing this in China. Over time, such a wave reached Europe, and from there to North America.

People sought a settled way of life, agriculture, and this involved the domestication of animals. Only after hundreds of years, gradually, it became clear that food, clothing, skin, shoes are best to be on hand, and not to constantly get if necessary.

In the process of keeping pigs in an enclosed space, people used a kind of selection. The most violent individuals were killed, and the rest were left. Then came the opportunity for the birth of offspring in captivity. For a herd of domestic cattle, food was needed, which prompted a person to engage in fodder production.

As a result, pigs have become a source of meat products. Such links as agriculture and animal husbandry appeared in the life of people, which allowed them to provide themselves with everything necessary for existence. Those who were sedentary, tried to tame and breed wild species that could be useful and had a special meaning.

About wild animals

Wild boars or boars were the ancestors of pigs. As mentioned above, they lived in Asia, in Europe, Africa, and were brought to America. Their main feature is omnivorous.

Thanks to her, wild pigs could exist without any problems in any conditions and climatic zones. These are forests, fields, semi-deserts and mountains. Absolutely everything was present in the diet - from fruit to small rodents.

Swampy places are subject to wild boar, the water did not frighten him. His limbs allowed to swim calmly and for a long time. And per day the ancestors of pigs could pass up to 8 km, and sometimes all 30.

Also, the boar has such a structure of "fingers", which allows it to easily move through deep snow or on soft ground. In cold terrain, animals had an undercoat, and for starvation, fat was deposited under the skin. With such properties of the body, wild pigs easily coped with any bad weather.

Wild pigs are commonly believed to be harmful. However, some of their actions can be attributed to positive. Boars loosen the earth, giving the seeds to germinate with ease, thereby renewing the forest. Also, these animals eat various forest pests. But all the functions of this animal are not fully understood.

Biological features

A pig is a hoofed mammal that belongs to the genus of wild boars. From these ancestors they have left many common characteristics. Firstly, it is not very sharp eyesight, but good hearing and a delicate sense of smell. And secondly, from the acquired properties, the piglets have the ability to grow quickly and store fat. Also, individuals have become much more fertile wild fellows.

Since at home the pig was mainly raised for meat, it was improved in this direction. It should be with developed parts of the body, while still being a young pig. That is, with the already designated muscles of the ham and back.

Pigs were selected for breeding according to the following data:

  • calm character;
  • low mobility (this meant a decrease in brain function and a predisposition to fat accumulation);
  • consumption of different feeds in large quantities, omnivorous (this led to the creation of breeds with a large weight gain and profitability).

In the process of evolution, one of the most successful stages of development was the ability of the domestic pig to actively reproduce, therefore, the modern sow is very prolific.

An example of numerous offspring can be found in the article "About the Urzhum breed of pigs."

The process of evolution and selection

In the distant past, when pig breeding was in its infancy, the appearance of the ancestor of pigs was not the same as it is now. He looked like a wild boar - it is long legs, a big head with erect ears and a straight snout. Along the ridge was bristles in the form of a high ridge.

Much later, according to the description, the pig began to resemble a modern look. This is a small head, a deep torso with a concave back, drooping ears. Her appearance could be called more gentle, and the shape of a streamlined.

In the past, they didn’t think much about the correct, competent crossing, so the formation of rocks was delayed. The evolutionary stage was already very strongly influenced by the 18th century, which is the confident removal of pigs from natural habitats. Artificial conditions began to gain more and more popularity, but natural selection continued to stabilize the characteristics of each individual in its own way. Those qualities of pigs, which were obtained in the home maintenance, were non-adaptive.

Work continues

After some time, people began, with more serious intentions, to select wild pigs of the appropriate type. Evolution faded into the background, but did not fade away, and gave way to the work of breeders. Now in the pig industry it is necessary to ensure that natural and artificial selection coexist harmoniously. This will give the opportunity to create the type of pigs, which will be beneficial from an economic point of view.

Already in the twentieth century, genetics achievements in pig breeding began to be actively applied. Much time has passed since the domestication of the wild boar, and the pigs suffered a huge amount of change. The whole process resembles an ascent from primitiveness to highly productive rocks. But all is not smooth at this stage. Although optimal conditions for the maintenance of animals have been created, the output is rather low due to diseases and free decks. This can be called the influence of natural selection.

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