Well, I hope being careful with who you sell guinea pigs to doesn’t lead to any blatant discrimination. My best friend in elementary school lived next door to a Quechuan family whose son bred competition Peruvians (or silkies? I’m not sure; they were the long-haired ones that even had hair over their faces and looked like silly little mops) that won shows all over the Midwest US and were the sweetest animals ever. Traditionally, they were people who would have eaten cavies (and I know the parents did when they still lived in Bolivia), and they definitely looked Andea.
Though…yeah, if someone’s asking about the meat texture or best way to cook one, that’s not someone to sell to. :P
That’s really interesting about chinchillas. Small gene pools tend to do that, but I’ve never heard of problems in, say, gerbil breeding. I’m not sure if it’s just that I never heard of it, or if the initial family never really had any genetic problems.
Very cool stuff to know, thanks for sharing!
I’ve read Mutants: On Genetic Variety and the Human Body, but I haven’t seen 300 Frogs before, so thanks for the suggestion!
I love the German word for Guinea Pigs - Meerschweinchen. It means “sea piglet”, and the High German word “merswin”, which was the same word that was used for dolphins.
I don’t know a whole lot about their domestication, only that they were some of the first competitively bred/shown animals in Europe. They were raised domestically in the Andes over 3000 years BCE, but weren’t really “pets”, of course. The Europeans realized their utility as easily-raised fresh meat sources (mostly used in Hispanola and the surrounding islands, and on ship voyages), but once they got to continental Europe, ladies and children were keen on keeping them as pets, since they were generally pretty tame and docile animals. Not long after, the upper-class men got into the competitive breeding of the Guinea Pig, and the development of all the varieties of guinea pig pets we have today progressed from there.