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MLaaSP- The partnership of human & dog

October 14, 2011

My Life as a Science Promoter on October 13, 2011

The world population is 6,968,249,276

Yesterday I found myself ending the night with NATURE, a show on PBS. This hour long episode was called Dogs That Changed the World, which tells the epic story of the wolf’s evolution, how “man’s best friend” changed human society and how we in turn have radically transformed dogs.

Evolution of the dogDuring the time that humans began to settle in civilizations, dogs didn’t exist, but wolves did. Scientists speculate wolves started “hanging out” around Stone Age villages about 15,000 years ago. Why? As humans gathered into larger groups, they began organizing their trash into primitive “garbage dumps.” Wolves took advantage of this new source of food. Instead of spending excessive amounts of energy hunting prey, they identified a less-energy consuming, efficient process to find food–in garbage dumps.

As wolves began to occupy this niche, competition between them increased. Wolves probably fought amongst themselves for “control” of the garbage dump, and the strongest survived. BUT, wolves were still considered a threat to humans, and a food source as well. The strongest wolf was no match for a human with a weapon. Therefore, a new breed of wolf began to evolve. The tamer, friendlier, and less-threatening wolf was allowed closer to humans. It was this wolf, who eventually became Proto-dog, that humans domesticated as our new “best friend,” and the first domesticated animal in human history.

Evolution of the dog

By allowing Proto-dog to feed on our waste, reciprocation was natural. Dogs were used as companions for hunting & searching, for pulling our sleds, and protecting us from predators such as bears. Eventually they became the cute creatures who wag their tail as you walk in the front door. That is the story of how a partnership formed between humans and dogs. Isn’t it cool?

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