The Evolution of the Human/Dog Relationship
The dogs with DNA most linked to wolves are the Basenji, Chinese Shar-Pei and Chow Chow, according to a recently released study.
study also concludes that the dog was probably domesticated in the
Middle East. This
coincides with other previous evidence, maintaining the first species we mights call dogs likely began to evolve in Africa.
The most recent theory (supported by Raymond Coppinger, evolutionary biologists and behavioral anthropologists) is that the unique relationship we have with dogs today began with Cro-Magnon man. I’ve talked about this on the air with various experts, including Stanley Coren who write about it in his book, “The Modern Dog: A Joyful Exploration of How We Live With Dogs Today.”
Cro-Magnon dudes weren’t very neat. They kept trash just outside their settlements. This attracted the dog descendants, who found easy meals. Over time, they began to consider the fringes of human settlements
as their territories, and defended them. They also warned one another
of danger, and in doing so, the Cro-Magnon people were warned who lived in these
settlements. Keep in mind predators thousands of years ago were sometimes the size of buildings, with teeth larger than a Chihuahua.
No wonder people soon appreciated this. The wolf-like animals that were ancestors of dogs were apparently soon paid back when people went on hunts. It seemed Cro-Magnon man began
to associate with friendlier and less timid individual canines, and
even began to selectively breed them. This began the domestication
process. As the Ice Age came, Cro-Magnons invented
the bow and arrow. But the bow and arrow didn’t usually kill, so to
efficiently hunt, you had to pursue the prey. That’s where dogs came
in, as they helped to pursue the prey and to pull it down. Meanwhile,
the Neanderthals were having difficulty even finding large prey, which
was dying out because of the Ice Age.
Neanderthals wound up dying out. Cro-Magnons turned into, well….us.
The biggest differences between Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon’s. One had the bow and arrow, and also dogs, the other didn’t.
So, there’s even an argument – crazy as it sounds – without dogs, we wouldn’t be here today.
any case, so began the most unique relationship between any unrelated
species on the planet. Two species who implicitly trust one another,
and two species who even risk their own lives to save the others’.