Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Monday, May 14, 2012

Hmmm....interesting (and be sure to read in the article about human sclerae and the hunt as well)

Humanity's Best Friend: How Dogs May Have Helped Humans Beat the Neanderthals
Yep. Man's best friend, Shipman suggests, might also be humanity's best friend. Dogs might have been the technology that allowed early humans to flourish.

Shipman analyzed the results of excavations of fossilized canid bones -- from Europe, during the time when humans and Neanderthals overlapped. Put together, they furnish some compelling evidence that early humans, first of all, engaged in ritualistic dog worship. Canid skeletons found at a 27,000-year-old site in Předmostí, of the Czech Republic, displayed the poses of early ritual burial. Drill marks in canid teeth found at the same site suggest that early humans used those teeth as jewelry -- and Paleolithic people, Shipman notes, rarely made adornments out of animals they simply used for food. There's also the more outlying fact that, like humans, dogs are rarely depicted in cave art -- a suggestion that cave painters might have regarded dogs not as the game animals they tended to depict, but as fellow-travelers.

Shipman speculates that the affinity between humans and dogs manifested itself mainly in the way that it would go on to do for many more thousands of years: in the hunt. Dogs would help humans to identify their prey; but they would also work, the theory goes, as beasts of burden -- playing the same role for early humans as they played for the Blackfeet and Hidatsa of the American West, who bred large, strong dogs specifically for hauling strapped-on packs. (Paleolithic dogs were large: They had, their skeletons suggest, a body mass of at least 70 pounds and a shoulder height of at least 2 feet -- which would make them, at minimum, the size of a modern-day German shepherd.) Since transporting animal carcasses is an energy-intensive task, getting dogs to do that work would mean that humans could concentrate their energy on more productive endeavors: hunting, gathering, reproducing.

The result, Shipman argues, was a virtuous circle of cooperation -- one in which humans and their canine friends got stronger, together, over time.
It's an interesting theory. I've heard worse. I'm not sure there's any way to truly prove it, though, but it's definitely worth a look at.

The Goddess I worship is associated with dogs (among other things). Although Her origins are rather murky (ostensibly She is Greek) I've often wondered exactly how far back Her influence goes. I believe Her worship to be older than the historical record, although I do not have direct proof.

Anyway, if you have a dog, hug it and be thankful you don't have a brow ridge.

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