Fromm Institute 


 

Dogs and Humans: Evolutionary Allies

 

Bill Garrett, PhD

          


 

Dogs and humans have in common the fact that both species have been exceptionally successful in the lottery of evolution― in natural selection. In addition, both species share something unique: they came to be what they are today through the processes of self-domestication.

 

It was once assumed that dogs were wolves that humans had domesticated. Recent research suggests a very different story. Wolves, Canis lupus, through their contact with a particular species, Homo sapiens sapiens― US― transformed themselves into dogs. The fierce apex predator, the Big Bad Wolf, became "the best friend I've ever had." This relationship profoundly impacted both species, and is now thought to have begun  some 32,000 years ago.

 

These unlikely allies, apex predators both, came together to forge the basis of civilization, which emerged about 11,000 years ago and has survived down to the present. The story is fascinating, and is the topic of our course.

 


 

Bibliography


 

READINGS

  

#1: Neaderthals and Neuroscience

#2: The Human Asset

 #3: The Encounter

#4: The Genius of Dogs

#5: Self-Domestication

#6: Dogs and the Emergence of Civilization

#7: Convergence

 



Websites

Chauvet Cave Images

Paul Zak: TED Talk "Trust, Morality, and Oxytocin"