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)