Animals that Changed History

Animals That Changed History is a six part documentary series that details the contributions of animals to human development throughout history. The themed episodes focus on food, shelter, beasts of burden, companions, plagues, and muses. When it comes to food, there was a time when humans stopped hunting it – and started growing it. We have since built complex food economies based on farming. Since the domestication of animals, we have bred them not just for their meat, but for their byproducts; fish, poultry, milk, honey – all staples around the world, and the domestication of animals for food has made our world what it is today. For most of our history, we’ve taken our shelter and warmth from the natural world in order to survive. Over time, what was once a necessity became a status symbol – from fur coats, to leather jackets. History has been shaped by the way we’ve used animals to stay warm and comfortable – so much so, that wars have been fought over it. From mouflon to alpaca hair, as we continue to use up these natural resources, we have begun to explore the use of synthetic materials. As we continue to do so, perhaps a time may come when we no longer use animals to keep us warm and sheltered. Throughout history, humans have also needed some extra muscle to get work done. From growing food, to heavy lifting, to transportation – before modern machinery, we relied on ‘beasts of burden’. Now, those days are largely behind us – but we wouldn’t be where we are today without the help of animals like oxen, horses, and camels.