Domestic pigs are descended from the European wild boar, but their extremely adaptable nature allowed them to spread rapidly. According to About.com, the best evidence available suggests they were domesticated in Central Asia about 11,000 years ago, and at some point crossed with European wild boars. A-Z Animals notes that the wild boar is the most widely distributed mammal on Earth.Continue Reading
Although wild boars are native to, and prefer, dense forests with plenty of undergrowth, they are adaptable enough to survive in a wide range of habitats. They are highly intelligent animals, and they're opportunistic omnivores able to survive off a huge variety of animal and plant foods. They are relatively fierce fighters with dangerous tusks. They run fast and swim well. According to A-Z Animals, wild boars' adaptability to a variety of habitats, particularly ones they have been introduced to by human activities, has rendered them an ecological hazard in some places.
Domestic pigs share their wild ancestors' intelligence and their tolerance of different foods, A-Z Animals reports. However, they have much less hair and a more docile temperament, and they tend to grow larger in adulthood. Domestic pigs that escape captivity readily become feral and take on many of the features of wild boars within very few generations. They also breed readily with wild boars.Learn more about Meat, Poultry & Seafood