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Why did early human ancestors keep dog's ancestors?
04-21-2012, 08:41 AM,
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Ram Offline
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Why did early human ancestors keep dog's ancestors?
Dog's ancestors are wolves, aren't they?

Why do you think our ancestors try to keep wolves?
It must have taken tens thousands of years for the voracious wolves to turn into something cute like Chihuahua.
There weren't all that much food to go around tens thousands years ago, and you have to feed them meat which didn't come by easy back then.




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04-21-2012, 06:30 PM, (This post was last modified: 04-21-2012, 06:45 PM by Karenskatz.)
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RE: Why did early human ancestors keep dog's ancestors?
I wish I had a name or web site to send you to. There is a researcher in Russia that has had a project going for a number of years where she was using foxes from the fur trade. She would select the friendliest foxes, the ones most willing to seek attention from humans, and she would breed those and select the friendliest of their offspring to breed, etc. She discovered that in only a few years, there were marked differences in the apearance and personality of the foxes, making them more like domestic dogs than wild animals. I saw this on a nature show, and I believe it was also written up in National Geographic Magazine. It is strongly believed by anthropologists that humans did not set out to domesticate wild canids. The wild canids were as much scavenger as hunter, and they discovered that these strange ape-like beings had a lot of tasty scraps when they went hunting, and hanging around where they lived was an easy way to a good meal. The more outgoing and trusting settled in near the humans, taught their pups about this good foodsource, and maybe followed them on hunts. When they flushed game the way they would do for the pack, the humans saw the value of having them around. The friendliest of the offspring moved in with the humans, and eventually subsequent generations looked to the humans as their pack. Science has always agreed this is how domestication happened, but they thought it took hundreds or thousands of years. The Russian researcher proved it takes a lot less time than they thought. Our ancesters didn't "try to keep wolves"; it was a mutually beneficial partnership that evolved into dogs working for the benefit of the humans and the dogs finding the safety and benefits living with this human pack. And as humans encouraged certain dogs for their speed, or strength or good noses and kept the best of their offspring around, we had a sort of Darwinian evolution of the first breeds. Many of the breeds we have today are deliberate creations of breeders during the 17 and 1800's.
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04-21-2012, 09:51 PM, (This post was last modified: 04-21-2012, 09:52 PM by Ram.)
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RE: Why did early human ancestors keep dog's ancestors?
Ah, so according to what you read, it is the wolves who came to join us on their own free will rather than we "adapted" them in the first place. Interesting.

I have seen on TV where some people got close to the wolves at Yellow Stone. Those wolves were actually imported Canadian wolves. Since the American wolves were all wiped out clean many years ago by the European settlers.
In the show, it seems the wild wolves are extremely friendly to the approaching people. The pack leader even played with this one guy with repeat physical contact. I couldn't believe my eyes. Most stories I heard about wolves were quite the opposite. They were seem as dangerous animals.

It got me quite confused on whether the wild wolves are dangerous or friendly to humans.
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04-22-2012, 04:58 PM, (This post was last modified: 04-22-2012, 06:19 PM by Thor.)
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RE: Why did early human ancestors keep dog's ancestors?
Personally, I would class all wild animals as dangerous. Some can be socialized to people from living around us, which means they have come to accept certain people as a non-threatening part of their environment. Usually this happens when we feed them. For instance, that squirel you keep giving peanuts to, so now it comes and takes them from your hand. It is not tame, it is still a wild animal. But it no longer fears you, and if someday you don't have any peanuts when it wants them, it could attack you to get them. Squirrels might not seem dangerous (though they can carry rabies), but there was a special on cable (Animal Planet or Nat Geo) a few years ago about a guy who was studying bears up in the wilderness, living with them for several years. They were familiar with him and ignored his presence. But then something changed and they killed him. People think it's cool to own a wolf-dog cross, but it's playing with fire. I learned a lot of this from the Timberwolf Preservation Society near Milwaukee, WI. You're never sure How much of the dog's genes and how much of the wolf's it has. It might seem perfectly tame and friendly, but you never know what might trigger the wolf instincts and it could turn on you unpredictably.

You are making the assumption many people do that dogs are descended from wolves. The current thinking is that dogs and wolves are two different branches descended from ancient canids closer to coyotes or dingos. Bear in mind that humans did not likely go looking for a hunting helper. People produce garbage, which attracts scavengers. If the scavenger is a problem, it's chased off or killed. If it's beneficial, it's tolerated, like small wildcats in Egypt discovering that the graineries attracted mice and rats and were great hunting grounds. They provide vermin control, so they get to stay. Dogs cleaned up food garbage, and if they denned near by the noise they made protecting their pack could warn the humans of threats. They know food comes from humans, and the bolder and friendlier ones might actually approach the humans and watch to see if they throw or drop anything. Some might even beg for food, in the manner of a cub begging food from adults who've returned from hunting. The people encouraged this, and the canids hung around, and later brought their cubs to this food source. The friendliest of those hung around, etc.
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04-22-2012, 06:25 PM,
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RE: Why did early human ancestors keep dog's ancestors?
You must be referring to that "Grizzly man". I saw his TV shows with him approaching grizzly bears, and he was saying "I am a caretaker to them" in the show. Then I heard the news of him along with his girlfriend were both killed by a grizzly bear.

Do you have the source of where it mentioned dog and wolf have separated ancestor? Smile
If it is true, I wonder why their wild counterparts aren't around in the wild now.

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04-23-2012, 04:13 PM,
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RE: Why did early human ancestors keep dog's ancestors?
I read a lot of things in a lot of places, and most the time I remember some piece of information, or severaal pieces that lead to a total, but I don't remember where I read them. I'm guessing maybe an issue of Nat Geo (my auto mechanic has them in the waiting area) or a Nat Geo special, or something on Animal Planet. I've also been to a few workshops by animal behaviorist Patricia McConnel. She might have mentioned something. I do remember something on TV a number of years back about the basic southern "Yellow Dog" which a naturalist realised strongly resembled African tribal dogs that were suspected of being the closest thing to domestic dog's ancient ancestor. I know I saw the article about the Russian fox project in Nat Geo maybe a year or so ago.
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04-23-2012, 05:16 PM,
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RE: Why did early human ancestors keep dog's ancestors?
I have also read a story long time ago about a guy who raised a wild fox. The fox was loyal to him until one day it left him for another fox. He was quite upset about the "betrayal" until he cooled down and thought it was probably the best for the fox.

As for the process of domesticate the dogs and other pets,
You call it human friendly, I call it submissive lol.
I guess the so called domesticated animals are just the repeat selection of the most submissive ones. Submissive could be in the genes.
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04-26-2012, 03:19 PM,
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RE: Why did early human ancestors keep dog's ancestors?
What about the offspring of the dog and wolf? Can the wolf-dog hybrid reproduce? If they can, they it must mean they are the same species.
African tribal dog could be domesticated wolf too. I am not sure about any of this. Just wondering. Smile
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