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Subject:  Re: Camels once roamed Canadian Arctic? Date:  3/7/2013  12:13 AM
Author:  salaryguru Number:  48259 of 132362

A Duke University professor argues that dogs/wolves domesticated humans rather than the other way around.

This is an area of archaeology research that I've followed a little bit. The Duke argument is a little bit overstating their case and a little bit debunking their own strawman.

Anyone who has ever trained a dog has probably noticed themselves being trained a little bit too. It is truly symbiotic. You might want the dog to do a certain thing, but the dog is very likely to try to see if their own version of that thing will be good enough. There is almost always some kind of compromise that is worked out.

But even the Duke argument is that aggressive wolves were probably killed while friendly wolves were allowed to eat the garbage. I think that's a real stretch to claim that the wolves trained the humans in that case.

Then there is this, "The hunting hypothesis, that humans used wolves to hunt, doesn't hold up either. Humans were already successful hunters without wolves, more successful than every other large carnivore."

This is pure strawman. The claim isn't that men could not hunt without wolves, it is that they became better hunters with them. Man's sense of smell and night vision pales in comparison to wolves. So even though man was a good hunter, he could also be hunted. But with wolves as symbiotic night watchmen, and trackers, man was an almost unstoppable hunter.

The Duke claims of dog training man have some merit and that aspect of the relationship deserves some attention, but I think any study of primitive cultures and their relationship to dogs makes it pretty clear who the master was.
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