One could argue that co-evolution/co-dependency is the same thing, but I think he makes some important distinctions in how the wolf became the dog.
I do take issue with the main thrust of most of the dog/man analysis in that I don't believe the wolf ever truly left the dog. Most dogs, if left to their own devices and survival, revert very quickly to a feral state very similar to the classic wolf pack. The difference between feral dog packs and the wolf pack is that the feral dogs have a rather loose organization with more than one top dog and those aren't always breeding pairs as they are in a wolf pack. In fact, the feral dog pack behaves much in the same way Derr describes when he was doing his research on the wolf researchers.
I love his commentary about The Dog Whisperer" - Cesar Millan. The guy is a good trainer no doubt, but he's got some rather outdated ideas about human/dog interactions.
In any case, I've read his other two dog books "A dog's history of America : how our best friend explored, conquered, and settled a continent" - 2004 and the first "Dog's best friend : annals of the dog-human relationship" - 1997. Highly recommended if you can find them - I think they are both out of print.
Anyway, the article is very good - enjoyed it. Hope you do..."
I cannot comment on the veracity of the conclusions or assumptions she makes in the paper, but since it's an open paper I'm sure there are capable behavioral geneticists who can. In any event, the premise is intriguing and the outcomes certainly seem to support it - could you do the same with a lizard?
“Dogs have been fighting alongside U.S. soldiers for more than 100 years, seeing combat in the Civil War and World War I. But their service was informal; only in 1942 were canines officially inducted into the U.S. Army. Today, they’re a central part of U.S. efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan — as of early 2010 the U.S. Army had 2,800 active-duty dogs deployed (the largest canine contingent in the world). And these numbers will continue to grow as these dogs become an ever-more-vital military asset. So it should come as no surprise that among the 79 commandos involved in Operation Neptune Spear that resulted in Osama bin Laden’s killing, there was one dog — the elite of the four-legged variety. And though the dog in question remains an enigma — another mysterious detail of the still-unfolding narrative of that historic mission — there should be little reason to speculate about why there was a dog involved: Man’s best friend is a pretty fearsome warrior.”
Dogs think they are still wolves — inside.
Very interesting. Thanks for posting.
I seem to recall a Sci-Am article from years ago where urban dogs were studied. It seems that even purebred in urban settings soon end up breeding after a couple generations, something that quickly resembled a very generic, feral dog.
The Russians did the opposite with wild foxes. After selective breeding, observation, and lots of human contact, after 10-15 generations of foxes, the resultant animals are as domesticated as your average poodle.
“How did the wolf become dog ?”
He got married?
There are some interesting physiological differences that make man and wolf/dog very effective as complementary hunters.
A dog’s hearing and sense of smell are very acute, but humans have an almost unique adaptation among mammals of large sinuses. Because of these, our vision does not blur when we inhale and exhale, which happens to other mammals.
Humans also stand upright, which is very useful to look over tall grasses and bushes. And strong arms with opposing thumbs to hurl distance weapons.
For their part, wolves/dogs have a distinct hierarchy, and can use hunting tactics. Importantly dogs can imagine humans in their hierarchy.
Humans breed for diversity and specialization, but wolves/dogs breed for dominance and success.
One day, 4 year old Cave-ette was skipping around the fields and spied a cute furry little creature with a wagging tail and big brown eyes. Little Cave-ette brought the warm fuzzy back to the cave and since she had Papa Caveman wrapped around her little finger, he let her kept the creature. It was fed well, petted and sheltered from the elements and decided life was good so stayed.
Fun article. Thanks for posting, and happy FR anniversary!
... dogs and humans ... simply took to traveling with each other tens of thousands of years ago, and never stopped.Ah! Just like an Outlaw Biker Gang.
No offense meant to any Motorcycle Club (M.C.) present, past or future.
(Carry on men, fire up them Choppers.)
Some aren’t quite as far removed as others... I cannot tell you how many times I get asked if it is legal to own a wolf when we are walking our 120 pound Malamute around town. The differences are obvious to me, but to an awful lot of people any big dog is the same as a wolf.