[lit-ideas] Homo sapiens and Canis Familiaris

  • From: "Lawrence Helm" <lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 29 Jun 2011 21:57:59 -0700

Civilization as we know it could not have developed without the dog.  Moving
from a hunter-gatherer society to a fixed society in which animals were
herded required the dog to do the protecting and much of the herding.  It
would not have been possible for man to do this by himself and have it be an
improvement over hunting and gathering.  

There is also evidence that man and dog developed symbiotically.
Mitochondrial DNA research places Mitochondrial Eve in the same time frame
as Mitochondrial Ginger.   For most of man's existence the dog went with him
to hunt game while other dogs stayed back to protect the women, children and
old people.  

Psychologists tell us that today we will feel better and live longer if we
are in a relationship with a dog.  The same thing is true of dogs.  They are
happiest if they are in a relationship with people.  

Perhaps my regular treks (when the weather is cool enough) to the local dry
river with my Rhodesian Ridgebacks (who don't happen to be Rottweilers)
Ginger and Sage is something like the Hunting-gathering activity of our
ancestors.  Homo Sapiens and Canis Familiaris originated roughly 200,000
years ago.  Man and dog took up the herding of animals about 12,000 years
ago.   Which means that for approximately 188,000 years man and dog spent
their days much as the girls and I do, but hunting and gathering, not just
walking for pleasure and exercise.  

One of the most important things humans and dogs can do today is encourage
each other in the sort of exercise that kept them fit for about 188,000
years.   We can live longer than our ancestors if we count only years, but
if we focus on the number of fit-years, I wonder if we would measure up.
But even if we would, why not live longer and be fit longer?   Why not have
a dog -- perhaps two or three?

Lawrence

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