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How dogs became “Our best friends”

Approx. 2 minutes read

How Dogs Became ‘Our Best Friends’ And Changed The Course Of Human History

Dogs and humans have been best friends for a very long time, at least 10 000 years. No surprise there. But have you ever wondered just how dogs and other animals got to be domesticated, and why? How do today’s domesticated animals differ from their wild predecessors? The story is even more complicated than you might imagine.

How dogs became “Our best friends”

Did you know that evidence of animal domestication can be found in ancient texts, wall paintings, Egyptian tombs and burial grounds? Due to modern technology, genetic testing can now piece together a reasonable timeline as to what animals were domesticated and where and when it took place.

How dogs became “Our best friends”

It has been said that the wolves / wild dogs followed humans around when they went hunting or moved. This was because it was easier to eat the humans’ leftovers than to hunt for themselves. The humans then realised that the animals could become domesticated and assist them. Some believe that dogs were evolved from wolves, but new studies suggest that wolves and dogs instead evolved from a common ancestor. From digging up artefacts and animal bones, archaeologists know that dogs have been part of human lives before the advent of agriculture, about 10 000 years ago.

The evidence collected, strongly suggests that humans were still hunter-gatherers when the earliest dogs most likely arose. The dogs played a significant role in protecting humans from dangerous animals or other tribes. The dogs would bark, alerting their humans that something or someone was nearby, almost like an old alarm system.

The domestic dogs we have today is due to artificial selection. This means that we humans, for thousands of years, selected the dogs we liked the most because of their fluffy fur or friendly personality or intelligence or even ferocity, and we’ve kept them around and bred them. In a span of fewer than 10 000 years, breeders have changed dogs’ personality traits and body shapes, so they’d have aspects that we prefer.

How dogs became “Our best friends”

Some scientists believe that as humans realised we could domesticate and use dogs for everyday tasks, like hunting, we then started to domesticate other animals for various functions and resources too, e.g., sheep, goats, cattle, and pigs.

The domestication of animals played a vital role in the rise of agriculture and the expansion of early civilizations around 10 000 years ago. The domestication of farm animals created larger farms, which thus means more food and more people. When the population in one area grows, so does infrastructure, social hierarchies and monumental architecture.

How dogs became “Our best friends”

So now we can see how domestic dogs played a BIG role in the evolution of human civilization, more than we probably thought. Thanks to them we no longer go hunting for our daily meals, but pop-over into a shop and get it all and have amazing four-legged companions in our lives.

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