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Tuesday, Sep. 27, 2016

The Rise of Homo sapiens

Posted Thursday, December 6, 2007, at 3:11 PM

It has long been speculated that some 30,000 years ago the last of the Neanderthals died out, leaving us, Cro-Magnon humans the last of the upright Hominids. Theories explaining their extinction mention climate change and competition with present day Homo sapiens. But something else happened along that same timeline and I think this might explain it.

The first domesticated animal joined the group. I am thinking, of course, of dogs. Fossil evidence indicates that by 20,000 B.C. the wild wolf and humans had become symbiotic, giving both species a heck of an advantage for survival. Picture this: As hunter-gatherers, early man had to follow the food supply, establishing temporary camps for home bases. The guys go hunting and the gals tend the fire and children while gathering fruits, berries, grubs and the like. Most of the time us guys come back empty-handed with stories of the one that got away, but this time we come back with a liter of wolf pups we found after being attacked by their mother. Over time, some of these wolves "go back to the wild" so to speak, but not all. Some identify with their new human pack mates, accepting man's place of dominance, the new alpha males.

Now we have two tribes of humans, one with dogs the other without. The one without (i.e. Neanderthals) attempts a midnight raid on those scrawny, weak, high brows on the other side of the valley, just as they had many times before. But this time their sneak attack falls to pieces when a pack of recently domesticated wolves, now part of the Cro-Magnon pack, smells them coming hours before they get there, wakes everybody up, and tears into the intruders like a pack of wild wolves. End of game, and the world would never be the same again.

Over many generations we select and modify those traits to get the hundreds of dog breeds we now have: Working dogs, guard dogs, herding dogs, tacking dogs, hunting and retrieving dogs, etc. and along the way develop modern civilizations. Now that we don't have to worry about being raided every year by those big, ugly, strong Neanderthals, we can concentrate on building communities, developing agriculture, creating an alphabet for a written language, the list goes on and on.

And we owe it all, or if not, perhaps at least much of it, to "Fido, man's best friend".

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

My dog and I believe every word you said whether true or not.

-- Posted by gb on Fri, Dec 7, 2007, at 6:55 PM

Ditto gb!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-- Posted by Johnny Yuma on Fri, Dec 7, 2007, at 7:40 PM

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