Thursday, October 23, 2008

First Dogs?

New candidates for the first dogs? HT Cat Urbigkit.

Maybe, though there also may be at least one older claimant. I wonder if DNA supports the multiple origins idea?

13 comments:

smartdogs said...

Interesting commentary on this story at http://anthropology.net/2008/10/18/a-possible-domestication-of-dogs-during-the-aurignacian-31700-years-ago/ including information on mtDNA, genetic diversity and important gaps in the fossil record.

Anonymous said...

The DNA evidence I've read/heard about indicates that all modern dogs are descended from individuals in Asia. Whether or not this DNA evidence is correct, who knows? As for these early dogs being similar to Siberian Huskies in appearance--that is simply common sense! Siberians are one of the more wolf-like breeds in existence now, and of course the earliest "dogs" are going to be wolf-like if they are descended from wolves! And as for dogs appearing and dissapearing in the fossil record--no doubt these early, wolf-like proto-types were constantly crossbreeding with wolves, as they have throughout history, and still do in modern times under the right circumstances, which certainly existed much more frequently during the Stone Age. Therefore you are going to have fluctuating dog/wolf variations. And PLEASE, will everyone involved in the study of dog domestication quit parroting the hare-brained idea(not even deserving of the term "theory")of Ray Coppinger that dogs "domesticated themselves" scavenging from early agricultural dumps? This ignores MOUNTAINS of evidence to the contrary, like this evidence of dogs being distinct from wolves THOUSANDS OF YEARS BEFORE agriculture! Don't even get me started on this subject--I can rant for days!....L.B.

LabRat said...

Libby- Oh, please do.

Steve Bodio said...

Not Libby-- Lane I suspect (;-))

Anonymous said...

One response is enough; I need little encouragement to be "sicced" on Ray Coppinger--I have blathered on this subject on other blogs, like the "Diary Of A Mad Natural Historian's" under his "Greatest Hits", the Title "Cattle/Aurochs, Dogs/Wolves" for further interested parties. I will condense some of this and try to get out some of the more blatant points that Coppinger ignores with his "theory". First is all the archaeological evidence of dogs(distinct from wolves) dated THOUSANDS of years before agriculture. 2nd is early agriculture itself--who with a lick of common sense would imagine that early Neolithic agriculture produced enough throw-away surplus to compare with a modern day landfill where Coppinger got his idea? No way was there enough leftover food to allow wolves to tame themselves! 3rd, if wolves did this, why not other animals? Balyev's foxes actually DISPROVE his theory from my reckoning, as foxes have been scavenging from humans easily as long as wolves, and are better suited to this potential "niche", being smaller from the outset, nor nearly as social and dependant on a pack as wolves are. No, these foxes became domesticated for the same reason the plethora of other unlikely creatures did(which Coppinger also convienantly ignores)--direct human selection and control. Wolves hanging about scavenging may have given Stone Age man the idea and opportunity, but it is "Ludricous!"(a popular Coppinger verbal bullying term)to think they did it themselves! Coppinger also shows ZERO knowledge of "primitive" hunter-gatherer culture, as they would have had PLENTY of spare time to tame and develop dogs, more-so than modern man, in fact, and they likely were way more sensible about it,(i.e. modern-AKC?) nor did they have the same goals or expectations that we have of our dogs today! Tame wolves and Stone-Age man were a symbiotic dream-come-true that fit each other like a glove, and human care and attention(and PURPOSEFUL feeding and sharing of the spoils)were absolutely necessary to make it happen!....L.B.(Lane Batot is the correct identity!)

Anonymous said...

But wait, there's more! According to Ray Coppinger's notion(with which he published a book, done numerous T.V. documentaries, charged $100+ bucks a pop for his lectures on the subject--HE certainly found a great new niche!) wolves tamed themselves scavenging from early Neolithic agricultural settlements, by developing shorter flight distances which would supposedley give them better access to the food available. You HAVE to ask yourself(if you have a lick of common sense), WHY would a carnivorous predator be scavenging from an agricultural cultures dump, if little or no MEAT was available? No doubt these people hunted some too, but LESS meat scraps would be available than with previous hunter-gatherer camps(and I bet very little of it got discarded!). Unless these agriculturists had already domesticated other animals---but wait! Duh...they had other domestic animals? Yet they were incapable of the idea of domesticating dogs? Which is a moot point, since virtually all the archaeological evidence points towards DOGS as the FIRST domesticated animals during the hunting-and-gathering cultures of the Stone Age.

Anonymous said...

And PLEEZE Mr. Coppinger! He states, trying to defend his "theory" that primitive people wouldn't have the know-how to successfully raise and tame wolf cubs("they must be bottle fed from an early age to do that"-- I bet cavemen realized better than people nowadays that milk doesn't originate in a BOTTLE!), and also that cavemen didn't have "leashes and chain-link fences) and all the things we NEED to keep our dogs now! Despite the fact that there is a plethora of evidence, throughout history and continuing to this day of "primitive" people suckling baby animals from human breasts(that'll create a helluva better bond than a bottle, I'll bet!) and successfully raising and taming all manner of diverse creatures--I have a photo of an African woman suckling a LION CUB for goodness sakes, in one of my old African explorer books!(OUCH!) And why in the world would CAVEMEN need leashes or fences for their wolves! Ludricous! No traffic to get run over by yet, no other domestic stock to harass or kill, if your wolves kill some of your rival neighbors, that's a GOOD thing(especially those creepy, flat-headed, cannibalistic Neanderthals in the next cave). It was a canine-keepers utopia in those days! I could go on.....L.B.

smartdogs said...

Thanks for posting these comments.

I googled L.B. up and found his other discussions at Diary of a Mad Natural Historian - great stuff! I just ordered Pferd's book and look forward to reading it. Have put others in my, much too long, wish list.

Coppinger has interesting ideas, but I agree that they're not founded on much more than conjecture. I'm glad to see that not everyone swallows it hook, line and stinker.

Anonymous said...

And really poor conjecture, at that--no excuse for someone being touted as a dog "expert" and scientist--the guy could not have even taken an Anthropology 101 class during his schooling! What he "theorizes" may be the early development of a certain TYPE of domestic, less wolfish, dog(the beginning of the pariah types?), but NOT the beginning of the process. The whole pariah issue is yet another fascinating subject--here again Mr. Coppinger shows his ignorance, with the comment he made on that great radio documentary about New Guinea Singing Dogs linked on an earlier post on this(also great) blog. About how New Guinea Singing Dogs were not unique(therefore not deserving any preservation efforts---aaarrrggghhh! The guy boils my blood!)as pariah/mongrel types "just like them" are found all over the world! Well yes, Mr Coppinger, pariah types ARE found all over the world, but there are some very distinct varieties(Dingo, Basenji, Canaan Dog, etc.)and if, as a supposed canine "expert, you cannot distinguish between the VERY UNIQUE appearing and behaving New Guinea Singing Dogs and the others, perhaps that expert status should be reduced to just "spurt".....L.B.

Anonymous said...

And, SmartDogs, glad you are getting the Pferd book, "Dogs Of the American Indians", a very interesting and unique history of dogs not well known. However, Coppinger should have AT LEAST known that Native Americans had dogs when they came across the Bering Land Bridge during the friggin' Ice Age, just a few millenia before his notion that they domesticated themselves with agricultural scraps in Eurasia....L.B.

smartdogs said...

IMO - these days being a MEDIA expert (which seems to be Coppinger's forte) is based more on one's ability to manufacture interesting sound-bytes than on true expertise. This is why one should take pretty much everything you see on teevee with a big grain of salt.

Teddy Moritz said...

Find a copy of 'Dog and Man, the Story of a Friendship' by A.Sloan and A. Farquhar, published in 1925 by the George H. Doran Company. This book's ideas on the origins of dogs being dogs and not wolves as well as how dogs have come to live with humans predate any other Coppinger-type speculative literature. Pre-DNA, the authors rely on artifacts and ancient writings. Not so serious as to be daunting, light enough to enjoy.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Teddy Moritz, for the book suggestion--my greatest weakness next to dogs, is books about dogs! I looked for it on Amazon.com, but had no luck yet, but will keep the title handy for future searches. When are YOU going to write a book about hunting with dachsunds/lurchers/hawks? Yes, I am also an old "Full Cry" subscriber!...L.B.