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Did we domesticate dogs or vice versa?

Posted on Thursday, 7 March, 2013 | Comment icon 34 comments | News tip by: Still Waters

Image credit: CC 2.0 P.T. Brent

Did early humans domesticate dogs or did the dogs adapt themselves to benefit from being around us ?

Early humans were not very tolerant of any animal that competed in the food stakes and to that end wolves would have been seen as more or a nuisance than a help. When our ancestors arrived in Europe 43,000 years ago most of the big mammal species ended up being wiped out, so how did dog domestication get started ? Did someone decide to try their hand at adopting some wolf pups or did it happen some other way ?

Researchers believe that some wolves would have originally gained favor with early humans by coming across as bolder and friendlier than other wolves. These more sociable animals would have started to change over time to develop traits we see in modern dogs such as floppy ears, wagging tails and the ability to read human gestures. Hunters would soon discover that taking these animals with them on hunts would give them an advantage, further accelerating the domestication process.

In effect, dogs may have actually had a hand in domesticating themselves.

"Most likely, it was wolves that approached us, not the other way around, probably while they were scavenging around garbage dumps on the edge of human settlements."

  View: Full article |  Source: National Geographic

  Discuss: View comments (34)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #25 Posted by Mistydawn on 10 March, 2013, 14:13
She's very photogenic! My wee dog is an embarrassment when on walkies, he is so gullible, loves everyone and wags his tail and gets quite gooey when passing people. Tied up outside the shop, I often return to find a crowd around him ooooing and ahhing. Other dog-walkers greet him like he is a long lost loved one! He completely ignores other dogs, as if they simply don't matter or even exist.
Comment icon #26 Posted by Lilly on 10 March, 2013, 14:33
Something tells me he's convinced that he's 'King of all Dogs'. Naturally he wouldn't pay any mind to commoner dogs!
Comment icon #27 Posted by Lilly on 10 March, 2013, 14:35
There are cats even bigger than dogs. However, those particular felines are not even remotely domesticated...and for good reason. Instead of supplying food for them we simply are food for them.
Comment icon #28 Posted by Mistydawn on 10 March, 2013, 14:38
I don't know what it is, attention seeking maybe, I wish I could video him! I meet and greet lots of the same dog-walkers on our daily rounds and he is all "hey Hi! How are you?!" to the person, the other dog can be skipping about happy to see him and wanting to sniff or play, Lewy just doesn't see them!!!
Comment icon #29 Posted by Andromedan Starseed 333 on 16 March, 2013, 17:46
if humanity thinks they are top dogs and the best of the best,king of the kings.for those who have that mentality i will highly rethink that and there are forces dominating humanity lol now that is funny.i love humanity but not what humanity is doing to life and the planet and everything else
Comment icon #30 Posted by Kludge808 on 16 March, 2013, 20:57
Oh, yes. This is why I have my very own custom made tin* hat, to keep the beams from the mothership from disturbing my thinking. We must be ever vigilant lest they take over completely and force us to watch "Plan 9 from Outer Space" over and over and over and over ... * It's actually a cast tin-copper alloy, custom made and polished by artisans. I spare no expense to save myself from alien influence.
Comment icon #31 Posted by simijkaktoka on 17 March, 2013, 0:55
i think that dogs and humans have certain common traits, maybe a certain energy that is shared between us and them. The darlingness of dogs is a definite reason for manīs attachment to them. Children had a lot to do with dogs domestication, parents would bring their children a puppy even in those times thousands of years ago. Lets face it, dogs and humans usually relate in a much better way than humans amongst themselves. There is a common deep understanding and sympathy between dogs and humans even beyond words.
Comment icon #32 Posted by regeneratia on 20 March, 2013, 2:10
I don't know. I have a beloved dog. I feel pretty darned domesticated by him. I wish he would clean up after my scat, LOL. opps. thinking about it now, No, I take that back.
Comment icon #33 Posted by evancj on 23 March, 2013, 18:41
I thought it was wheat that domesticated us.
Comment icon #34 Posted by Kludge808 on 23 March, 2013, 18:48
Actually - and I've never openly mentioned tis before because the MIB tend to get irritated when I do - we were domesticated by dogs who were influenced by a highly intelligent shade of maroon. Or was it chartreuse? I can't recall.

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