The evolutionary story of the dog-human relationship has had to be drastically revised in light of recent findings. The old story was that wolves tamed themselves into doggish behavior some 15,000 years ago in Asia by frequenting human garbage dumps. Evidence from caves, fossil prints, and the dog genome, though, has required a near complete overhaul of how our animal companions and their relationships to humans evolved, calling into question whether evolution was involved at all.
According to a lengthy article on the subject in The Wall Street Journal, the first bark that something was wrong with the traditional evolutionary story was the discovery of paw prints next to a child’s footprints in Chauvet Cave in France. This cave is filled with some of the finest art of early man, and is dated by the evolutionary timeline to 30,000 years. The article mentions other evidence of large dogs present with humans even further back in time in widely-spaced regions from Europe to Siberia. It is doubtful the first dogs were the fierce, pack-hunting wolves we know; most likely, they were already tame companions of the cave dwellers. A short video interview with dog historian Mark Derr, embedded with the article, explains the new findings and their implications.
The dog genome, furthermore, has shown evolutionists that only small changes can have big effects in dog appearance. Size, for instance, can be controlled by just one gene. In short, the combined new evidence overturns the evolutionary history of the dog-human relationship, effectively showing that from the earliest times, dogs were already man’s best friend. The degree of surprise to evolutionists from these findings can be noticed in quotes like these:
- Attributing that paw print to a dog or even to a socialized wolf has been controversial since it was first proposed a decade ago. It would push back by some 12,000 years the oldest dog on record. More than that: Along with a cascade of other new scientific findings, it could totally rewrite the story of man and dog and what they mean to each other….
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