The Elements of Evolution (84-2) Silkworms

 Silkworms

While most animals were first domesticated for food, the larvae of silk moths were prized for their industry. Over 7,500 years ago the Chinese bred silk moths for larvae that produced more silk and could tolerate extreme overcrowding and human handling.

For over 2,000 years the Chinese kept their silk-making methods secret. Smuggling silkworms out of the country was punishable by death.