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- Humans lived as roaming hunters and gatherers for most of their
existence. Dr. Wayne believes that wolves began following hunter-gatherer
bands to feed on the wounded prey, carcasses or other refuse. At some stage
a group of wolves, who happened to be smaller and less threatening than most,
developed a dependency on human groups, and may in return have provided a
- One of the features they selected was small size, continuing
the downsizing of the wolf body plan.
- His team has also used the dog SNP chip to scan for genes that show
signatures of selection. One such favored dog gene has a human counterpart
that has been implicated in Williams syndrome, where it causes exceptional
gregariousness. Another two selected genes are involved in memory. Dogs,
unlike wolves, are adept at taking cues from human body language, and the
two genes could have something to do with this faculty, Dr. Wayne
- Dogs could have been the sentries
that let hunter gatherers settle without fear of surprise attack. They may
also have been the first major item of inherited wealth, preceding cattle,
and so could have laid the foundations for the gradations of wealth and social
hierarchy that differentiated settled groups from the egalitarianism of their
hunter-gatherer predecessors. Notions of inheritance and ownership, Dr. Driscoll
said, may have been prompted by the first dogs to permeate human society,
laying an unexpected track from wolf to wealth.
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