Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Dogs enabled human civilization?

A NYT science writer suggests that dogs domesticated a notoriously viscious primate:
Nicholas Wade's book "Before the Dawn" - From Genghis Khan To Donor 401:

... Maybe the best news in the book is the finding that dogs were essential to the creation of modern civilization. If human beings were to cease being nomads, they had to be secure when they settled down. (After all, enemies would always know where to find them.) Dogs became trusty sentinels, which is why they, and not the wolves from which they descended, bark. It was a trait early man valued and probably selected for. The question remains, though: Did man domesticate the dog or did dogs figure out what man wanted and do the job themselves? Anyone who has ever owned a dog instinctively knows the answer.
Hmmph. I wrote previously:
Sometime I must write about my not- entirely-in-fun theory that dogs created civilization by allowing women and geeks to defend themselves against the alpha male.
My theory, heretofore passed on verbally only to my spouse and long suffering friends, was that civilization required geeks and women to ally against the muscle-bound alpha males. Problem is, how do you go up against someone that can rip you apart? One technique is to ally with a sharp toothed friend. Why do you think single women walk with furry partners?

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