Edwin Wollert / Education Coordinator / Wolf Song of Alaska
Did you know?...
...that some ancient "dogs" probably taught earlier humans some essential tricks?
Wolf Song of Alaska has always maintained that humans stand to learn some valuable lessons from wild canids, and recent theorizing maintains that this may have been helpful to our actual survival thousands of years ago.
The most recent research comes from Australia, where scientist Paul Tacon and bio-archaeology consultant Colin Pardoe have published growing evidence that the wolf-human relationship may go back over 100,000 years. Some of their findings include the following:
Territoriality, so strong in humans, is not a trait found in other primates. Of course, all canids, including wolves, are fiercely territorial. This trait may have been adopted by humans.
It has already been shown that humans grew weaker in certain sensory modes while our brains grew larger and more complex. Accordingly, as our sense of smell diminished, we may have grown to rely on progressively more domesticated canids, early dog breeds, to help alert us to danger and to hunt.
Humans are primarily visual creatures, and as an outgrowth of the above two suggestions, some of the earliest human art and rock paintings could have been a form of territoriality, similar to canids marking territory using scent marks.
Hunting for large game could have been facilitated with the help of canids, a tradition which continues today, albeit usually on a more "sporting" level. Nonetheless, wolves are the most geographically dispersed of all mammals except humans, and their help might have assisted our own ancestors in living in harsher environments.
Most interestingly, wolves could have offered earlier humans some lessons in cooperation. Non-human primates have good parenting skills, but same-sex groups are not typically found living harmoniously. The cooperation evident in wolf packs may have given humans the impetus to cooperate more amongst themselves.
Tacon was quoted as saying that, "We believe there were several forces that led to the development of anatomically and behaviorally modern humans, and that the close relationship between our human ancestors and wolves was one of the key factors." So, those old dogs may have taught humans some new tricks!