Humans drop a trail of trash,
Of garbage most enticing.
Wolves followed us across the plains
And with us have been thriving.
Neanderthals all disappeared
When modern humans came.
But wolves survived the journey
And slowly became tame.
Pushed by selective pressure
To tolerate us near,
Some mommas with their litters
Overcame their fears.
Floppy ears and painted coats
And puppies sweet and dear,
Raise alarms with bark and bite
When predators come near.
And so they morphed from pest to pal
Built on returning trust,
Till not a village lacked a dog
by Kate Rauner
iflscience reported findings, published in Current Biology this week, that suggest dogs became domesticated thousands of years earlier than previously thought. They may have been our companions for 30,000 years.
That reminds me of what I’ve learned about the origin of the dog and of how experiments breeding foxes for friendliness yield dog-like offspring in surprisingly few generations. We once thought humans domesticated the dog by capturing and raising wolf pups, but it seems more likely they domesticated themselves by moving from our dumps to our firesides to our homes.
Individuals that tolerated us were safer and better fed, and bred more successfully. They rapidly evolved into dogs and followed us around the world. Our partnership is so successful it’s hard to imagine a town or tribe without dogs. I wonder how different we would be today if dogs had never found us.