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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Blog reader "L.B." weighing in on the seemingly aberrant theory that Dogs got domesticated by following Humans and dining on their hunting scraps and garbage heaps.............He agrees with another Blog Reader, Dave Messinio, who yesterday commented strongly on the common sense theory that it was man who followed Wolves because Wolves found it so much easier to kill prey than did early man...........And then likely, Wolf pup adoption by the hunter/gatherers occurred with these adoptees joining humans on hunting forays/moving of camp, etc, etc.............Thanks to both L.B. and Dave for their common-sense thoughts on the never ending debate on how Dogs evolved from Wolves

What Mr. Messinio suggests is the common sense theories that existed for years before they got supplanted by the "new" IDIOTIC notion dreamed up by Raymond Coppinger that dogs developed in early agriculture dumps scavenging from humans. How most everyone jumped on this new bandwagon has been a great, irksome peeve to me, mainly because there is ZERO real evidence to back it up(it is just someone's "notion", not even worthy of the term "theory" in my opinion!).

 AND, it must ignore and/or sweep under the rug mounds of archaeological, anthropological, DNA, and modern evidence regarding wolves, dogs, and humans involved with the phenomenon! I read Coppinger's book, and was APPALLED at the total ignorance regarding wolves, dogs(especially hunting dogs!), and ancient and modern hunter-gatherers that utilized wolves or dogs to assist in hunting, EONS before any agriculture! I could go on and on regarding the ENORMOUS holes in this poorly thought out notion! Having kept and raised and hunted with all manner of canines, including a pack of wolf hybrids, I can verify with personal experience that getting tame, human-raised wolves to cooperatively hunt with you is NO PROBLEM!

 The PROBLEM, in this modern era, is to try to PREVENT them from hunting anything and everything, like cattle, sheep, housecats, poodles, etc.! Which, of course, is a problem ancient hunter-gatherers did not have! Also, ANY BASIC STUDY of Anthropology reveals that humans throughout history adopt all manner of baby animals-- where ALL of our domesticated animals originated; wolf pups would actually be one of the EASIER ones!

 Historical accounts of American Indians and Eskimos have only further verified this. And there are PLENTY of really modern accounts of people raising wolves and the amazing associations they have had--the problems they encountered were caused by MODERN CIRCUMSTANCES, NOT the wolves being "savage" or "treacherous" or "undependable".

 It is NOT wise or easy to raise/keep wolves in captivity in modern times(ancient hunter-gatherers did't keep them as "captives" anyway), but if you remove all the modern problems(tempting livestock, deadly highways, trigger happy neighbors, etc.) it is still possible to experience this most amazing symbiotic relationship that produced our wonderful modern dogs! Luckily, the Coppinger nonsense "theory" is finally dying a deserved death....L.B.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

....Let me emphasize that I don't doubt(knowing wolves and dogs), that wolves DID very likely scavenge from human hunters at times(I mean, just THINK of all the leftover meat from any of the Megafauna like a mammoth or giant ground sloth, for instance!), but I agree that humans likely scavenged just as much from wild wolf packs. What I disagree with is the notion that wolves SELF-DOMESTICATED(NO ANIMALS EVER "self-domesticated"!!!!!) by scavenging from early AGRICULTURAL dumps from settled villages, much, much later in human history. The slightest knowledge regarding these early, early agricultural efforts of humans indicates that there was little to discard in the first place(NOTHING like a modern urban landfill where Coppinger first observed dogs scavenging and had his very poorly thought out epiphany!), and then, of course, WHY would carnivorous wolves want to scavenge from agriculturists who had little meat, because there was little in the way of big game(why it is believed agriculture started in the first place was declining game numbers), and NO OTHER domestic animals yet! So wolves hung around for the extremely poor pickings, completely transforming themselves physically and socially to adapt to this miserly niche, when all they had to do was go elsewhere? Yet it is easy to see WHY wolves would be attracted to earlier hunter-gatherers' enormous gutpiles and excesses of meat from the megafauna being killed in those times. And the DNA tests, and archaeological evidence corresponds well with this time frame--THOUSANDS of years BEFORE agricultural villages showed up--plenty of time for human-raised wolves to have gradually morphed into our beloved dogs. One GLARING thing Coppinger overlooked was that the early Paleo-Indians that came to North America during the ICE AGE, eons before agriculture on any continent, already had DOGS! And our abilities as hunters may have been greatly influenced by observing and scavinging from wild wolves. Most hunter-gatherer societies in historical times revere and admire wolves. The wolf persecution by humans only seemed to begin when other domestic animals were "invented", that wolves could be a threat to....L. B.