Men and Dogs

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Domesticating each other?


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Dogs were the first domestic animal with whom we developed a close association. Mitochondrial DNA research suggests that most domestic dogs have been genetically separate from wolves for at least , years so that we have associated with dogs for as long as we have been around as a species Homo sapiens. Indeed, some enthusiasts, including Colin Groves of the Australian National University, in Canberra, believe that our success as a species is partly due to help from dogs 3. According to Groves: "The human-dog relationship amounts to a very long-lasting symbiosis.

Dogs acted as human's alarm systems, trackers, and hunting aides, garbage disposal facilities, hot water bottles, and children's guardians and playmates. Humans provided dogs with food and security.


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The relationship was stable over , years or so and intensified in the Holocene into mutual domestication. Humans domesticated dogs and dogs domesticated humans. Relying on dogs to hear the approach of danger and to sniff out the scent of prey animals, our ancestors experienced a decline in these sensory abilities compared with other primates. This conclusion is confirmed by shrinkage of brain regions devoted to these senses the olfactory bulb and lateral geniculate body. During the long period of our association, dogs' brains have shrunk by about 20 percent, typical for animals such as sheep and pigs who enjoy our protection.

Domesticated animals undergo tissue loss in the cerebral hemispheres critical for learning and cognition. If we relied on dogs to do the hearing and smelling, they evidently relied on us to do some of their thinking. If Groves is correct that dogs have domesticated humans, then the human brain would also have gotten smaller. Surprisingly, human brains have actually shrunk, but by only a tenth, suggesting that dogs got more out of the deal than we did.

Archer, J. Why do people love their pets. Evolution and Human Behavior, 18, Udell, M. Wolves outperform dogs in following human social cues. Animal Behaviour, 76, Groves, C. The advantages and disadvantages of being domesticated. Perspectives in Human Biology, 4, I was fascinated by some in-home surveillance videos showing dogs getting excited many minutes before their owners returned from an errand. Many minutes before one might expect any sound or scent to alert the animal. Since the humans arrived back at odd times, the animals couldn't have simply developed a sense a timing.

Would the author attach any significance to such findings and, if so, to what would he attribute the same? My dogs are always excited before I return also -- but I figured it out --they recognize the chirp of my automatic car door locker on my key ring. I'm understanding more about human behavior and evolution from author M. Most Europeans do like dogs but in other parts of the world Fido is beaten for being affectionate and picks through ordure for food while in winter left to sleep on a dungheap for warmth.

Of Dogs and Men - TIME

So what people from the the part of the world that never domesticated the wolf which did not exist there or any other canid: sub Saharan Africa. They would still have a bigger brain being at least 95, years of co-evolution behind. This conclusion is confirmed by shrinkage of brain regions How supported they are is highly debatable also.

Infact I would say they really have little basis in reality and can only at best be given as ones own subjective opinion. To say that our loss of strength in our sense of smell is due to dogs is ridiculous and unproven unverified and if you think of every person and try to say 'you mate have a brain ten percent smaller because of dogs ' is ludicrous! It is simply untrue.

This put a smile on our faces.

I doubt our sense of smell has been in any affected by dogs the fact they have a better one may have helped certain tribes and people throughout history but I doubt very very much that it has in any way constituted to a mass population loss of smell strength amongst the entire human race! As this article suggests! Utterly false unfounded unverifiable speculation with no evidence to support such a notion! Fact is if a man from a civillised city family was to grow up in the jungle his sense of smell would be superior to most other men that live in a society enviroment where smel, is really. To so important if at all to survival because he would adapt and need that smell to survive!

Yet his parents would have had no such great nostrils! It is called adaption! If you lived in darkness for months you can garuntee your eyes would suddenly get a lot better at seeing in the dark or in limited light.

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You don't suddenly evolve you just adapt! Like a blind persons other senses become more profound when the lose their sight! It is highly unlikely to see much improvement in senses by simply leaving society and living in the jungle. Our brains may devote more attention to the signals it is receiving from our sensory organs, but the brain cannot improve the capabilities of them.

The author's premise is sound logically. Before the "domestication" of dogs, humans relied on their senses to survive. After the "domestication," humans could focus their attention on other things such as physical exertion and solving problems. This created a massive shift in the responsibilities of the alpha male. The male that could create better weapons, tools, and shelters suddenly became more attractive to the females. And over the next , years, the traits that made humans good hunters slowly disappeared because the hunter males weren't as likely to pass those genes on.

First of all, thank you for the laugh "sheep and pigs who enjoy our protection". Yes, I am sure they are super happy about living in confinement, and hearing their families be slaughtered. Sounds like fun, right? Second of all, Our brains and dogs may have shrunk for a wide variety of reasons.


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Cite any sound study confirming your conclusion here. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, brain "shrinkage" can only be measured against prehistoric humans by comparing brain case size.

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Brain size has very little to do with intelligence. It is just as likely that the neurons in our brains and in our dogs' brains are more tightly built, so the same number of neurons reside in a small enough brain case to accommodate birth. Something went wrong.

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Of Dogs and Men

Do you eat greek yogurt? Get Fatherly In Your Inbox. Wellness Your Pediatrician's Dirty Secret. To sort out the issue, researchers analyzed skin and saliva samples from 18 bearded men, ranging in age from 18 to 76, and samples of fur and saliva from 30 dogs, ranging in breed from schnauzer to German shepherd. The fur samples, by the way, were taken from between the dogs' shoulder blades, which is apparently a "particularly unhygienic" area where skin infections regularly occur on canines, according to the study.

Despite sampling the notoriously germy spots on the pups, the men emerged as the germier group. The study found that all 18 men exhibited "high microbial counts" on their skin and saliva, but only 23 of the 30 dogs showed that kind of extreme germiness. It unfortunately gets even grosser than that: Seven of the men tested positive for human-pathogenic microbes, which are the type of bacteria that can make people super sick under certain circumstances four of the dogs had it too, but These microbes included Enterococcus faecalis, a common gut bacteria responsible for urinary tract infections and other health issues, and Staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria that lives on up to half of all human adults, but can create mayhem if it gets into the bloodstream.

The good ish?