America is the happy hunting ground of myth and legend,
milk and honey on the mind’s tongue, horses and camels for the taking, more than that for the leaving. For millennia, the smart money went north and east, following mountains, following seacoasts, following herds, trekking Siberia. The farther they went, the bigger the payoff. When they went as far as they could go, they went even farther. That’s where the big payoff was, on the other side, mammoth and mastodon, bear and deer, buffalo and cows as far as the eye can see. There’s only one problem: you might not get back. That water level’s a bit finicky. On the other hand, you might not want to go back. Happy hunting grounds are nice, if you’re the hunter, not the hunted. The stupid animals act like they’ve never seen a spear before, just standing there, waiting to take it in the gut. Just wait until the summer and wait until the tide’s out and you can walk right across. Then one summer the men had to wade across to get to the animals, since they wouldn’t come across on their own anymore. Then it just kept getting deeper and deeper. On both sides the animals just headed south for the winter and didn’t go back, so the people did the same. They just followed the animals. Domestication of animals was probably accidental. Once big game was cut off from its endless source, the extant stock was probably selectively corralled for future use. One surprising result of this was likely the realization that the animals became tame in captivity. You could even put reins on some of them. The rest is history.