Jan. 7th, 2009 09:10 pm
miss_yt: (The Laughing Man)
[personal profile] miss_yt
I have been reading Animals in Translation by Temple Grandin, a book I highly recommend.

The book is interesting in many ways, but one of the most interesting things in it - to me - is a theory developed by Dr. Robert K. Wayne of UCLA about the relationship between early humans and dogs. Or, well, the wolves that speciated into what are now dogs. His research suggest that humans did not start domesticating wolves 14,000 years ago, as current theory has it, but that early Homo sapiens sapiens had a sort of symbiotic relationship with wolves starting as early as 135,000 years ago. Humans and wolves protected and fed each other.

One piece of supporting evidence is that human bones and wolf bones from more than 100,000 years ago are often found in close proximity to one another. But a more interesting piece of evidence is something that Temple Grandin points out herself: humans have many "wolfie" features that distinguish them from other primates. The social structure of a wolf pack is more complex than that of, say, a band of chimpanzees. Wolves also have strong non-kin friendships, which no primate species (other than humans) has. Most primates aren't all that territorial, but humans - like wolves - are very territorial. All in all, it seems like humans didn't domesticate wolves into dogs so much as humans and dogs' wolfie ancestors domesticated each other.

This all sounds a little crazy to me but still relatively plausible. Thoughts?
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