1. Post #1
    One of the most compelling -- and enduring -- mysteries in archaeology concerns the rise of early humans and the decline of Neanderthals. For about 250,000 years, Neanderthals lived and evolved, quite successfully, in the area that is now Europe. Somewhere between 45,000 and 35,000 years ago, early humans came along.

    They proliferated in their new environment, their population increasing tenfold in the 10,000 years after they arrived; Neanderthals declined and finally died away.

    What happened? What went so wrong for the Neanderthals -- and what went so right for us humans?

    The cause, some theories go, may have been environmental, with Neanderthals' decline a byproduct of -- yikes -- climate change. It may have been social as humans developed the ability to cooperate and avail themselves of the evolutionary benefits of social cohesion. It may have been technological, with humans simply developing more advanced tools and hunting weapons that allowed them to snare food while their less-skilled counterparts starved away.

    The Cambridge researchers Paul Mellars and Jennifer French have another theory, though. In a paper in the journal Science, they concluded that "numerical supremacy alone may have been a critical factor" in human dominance -- with humans simply crowding out the Neanderthals. Now, with an analysis in American Scientist, the anthropologist Pat Shipman is building on their work. After analyzing the Mellars and French paper and comparing it with the extant literature, Shipman has come to an intriguing conclusion: that humans' comparative evolutionary fitness owes itself to the domestication of dogs.


    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 big to begin with: 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 possible result, Shipman argues, was a virtuous circle of cooperation -- one in which humans and their canine friends got stronger, together, over time.

    There's another intriguing -- if conjecture-filled -- theory here, too. It could be, Shipman suggests, that dogs represented even more than companionate technologies to Paleolithic man. It could be that their cooperative proximity brought about its own effects on human evolution -- in the same way that the domestication of cattle led to humans developing the ability to digest milk. Shipman points to the "cooperative eye hypothesis," which builds on the observation that, compared to other primates, humans have highly visible sclerae (whites of the eyes). For purposes of lone hunting, sclerae represent a clear disadvantage: not only will your pesky eye-whites tend to stand out against a dark backdrop of a forest or rock, giving away your location, but they also reveal the direction of your gaze. It's hard to be a stealthy hunter when your eyes are constantly taking away your stealth.

    Expressive eyes, however, for all their competitive disadvantage, have one big thing going for them: They're great at communicating. With early humans hunting in groups, "cooperative eyes" may have allowed them to "talk" with each other, silently and therefore effectively: windows to the soul that are also evolutionarily advantageous. And that, in turn, might have led to a more ingrained impulse toward cooperation. Human babies, studies have shown, will automatically follow a gaze once a connection is made. Eye contact is second nature to us; but it's a trait that makes us unique among our fellow primates.

    Dogs, however, also recognize the power of the gaze. In a study conducted at Central European University, Shipman notes, "dogs performed as well as human infants at following the gaze of a speaker in tests in which the speaker's head is held still." Humans and their best friends share an affinity for eye contact -- and we are fairly unique in that affinity. There's a chance, Shipman says -- though there's much more work to be done before that chance can be converted even into a hypothesis -- that we evolved that affinity together.

    "No genetic study has yet confirmed the prevalence or absence of white sclerae in Paleolithic modern humans or in Neanderthals," Shipman notes. "But if the white sclera mutation occurred more often among the former -- perhaps by chance -- this feature could have enhanced human-dog communication and promoted domestication."

    Which is another way of saying that, to the extent dogs were an evolutionary technology, they may have been a technology that changed us for the better. The old truism -- we shape our tools, and afterward our tools shape us -- may be as old, and as true, as humanity itself.
    http://www.theatlantic.com/technolog...rthals/257145/
    Reply With Quote Edit / Delete Reply Windows 7 Singapore Show Events Friendly x 43Winner x 10Dumb x 3Informative x 2Useful x 1Funny x 1 (list)

  2. Post #2
    Japanese Cerberus
    Dennab
    August 2011
    8,076 Posts
    Dogs are so awesome.
    Reply With Quote Edit / Delete Reply Windows 7 Finland Show Events Agree Agree x 57Disagree Disagree x 4Informative Informative x 1 (list)

  3. Post #3
    Gold Member
    ASmellyOgre's Avatar
    June 2008
    4,495 Posts
    That's pretty interesting. Neanderthals not domesticating dogs, that is.
    Reply With Quote Edit / Delete Reply Windows 7 United States Show Events Agree Agree x 4 (list)

  4. Post #4
    2014 SH Pun Award Nominee
    Awesomecaek's Avatar
    January 2009
    20,680 Posts
    I heard neanderthals rode dinosaurs tho so the point is invalid
    Reply With Quote Edit / Delete Reply Linux Czech Republic Show Events Funny x 21Dumb x 18Artistic x 2Optimistic x 1Agree x 1 (list)

  5. Post #5
    schleimgurke1's Avatar
    March 2011
    1,311 Posts
    ruh roh
    Reply With Quote Edit / Delete Reply Windows Vista Germany Show Events Informative Informative x 1Agree Agree x 1 (list)

  6. Post #6
    Gold Member
    Secrios's Avatar
    March 2011
    1,030 Posts
    I still prefer cats
    Reply With Quote Edit / Delete Reply Mac United Kingdom Show Events Disagree x 87Agree x 48Friendly x 6Dumb x 4Informative x 1Winner x 1Funny x 1Optimistic x 1 (list)

  7. Post #7
    Gold Member
    Chrille's Avatar
    August 2005
    5,408 Posts
    That's pretty interesting. Neanderthals not domesticating dogs, that is.
    They were probably cat people
    Reply With Quote Edit / Delete Reply Windows 7 Denmark Show Events Funny Funny x 17 (list)

  8. Post #8
    Gold Member
    Ripvayne's Avatar
    July 2011
    1,030 Posts
    I still prefer cats
    Step aside
    Reply With Quote Edit / Delete Reply Windows 7 United States Show Events Winner x 86Disagree x 17Friendly x 8Funny x 5Agree x 4Dumb x 3Zing x 1 (list)

  9. Post #9
    [SIZE=6][COLOR="#EE82EE"]Hardcore My Little Pony Fan[/COLOR][/SIZE]
    Arvuti's Avatar
    July 2008
    5,870 Posts
    I wonder how things would be if humans didn't make it and neanderthals would have evolved further.
    Reply With Quote Edit / Delete Reply Windows 7 Estonia Show Events Agree Agree x 15Funny Funny x 2 (list)

  10. Post #10
    Gold Member
    Da_Maniac_'s Avatar
    November 2010
    5,557 Posts
    Fuck yeah, dogs.
    Reply With Quote Edit / Delete Reply Windows 7 Finland Show Events Agree Agree x 7Disagree Disagree x 4Funny Funny x 1 (list)

  11. Post #11
    Gold Member
    Secrios's Avatar
    March 2011
    1,030 Posts
    I wonder how things would be if humans didn't make it and neanderthals would have evolved further.
    According to some scientists Neanderthals are the original barer of the ginger gene; so in theory we would have a world full of gingers.
    Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7062415.stm
    Reply With Quote Edit / Delete Reply Windows 7 United Kingdom Show Events Funny Funny x 38 (list)

  12. Post #12
    Dennab
    October 2010
    12,254 Posts
    I still prefer cats
    I agree cats are funny, but some cats, especially this cat, looks annoying as fuck.
    Reply With Quote Edit / Delete Reply Windows 7 Finland Show Events Disagree Disagree x 9Agree Agree x 2Zing Zing x 1Funny Funny x 1 (list)

  13. Post #13
    2014 SH Pun Award Nominee
    Awesomecaek's Avatar
    January 2009
    20,680 Posts
    Step aside
    So, you think they used dogs primarily as a long-lasting food conserve?

  14. Post #14
    Otherworldy Aviation Enthusiast
    Flyboi's Avatar
    May 2007
    663 Posts
    Neanderthals integrated with modern humans, they didn't completely die out.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/20...-humans-genome
    Reply With Quote Edit / Delete Reply Windows 7 United Kingdom Show Events Agree Agree x 7Informative Informative x 2 (list)

  15. Post #15
    Who wants to come to the aquarium later and watch me screw with the sharks?
    Shibbey's Avatar
    May 2009
    13,034 Posts
    I still prefer cats
    Reply With Quote Edit / Delete Reply Windows 7 United Kingdom Show Events Friendly x 42Funny x 1Dumb x 1Zing x 1Optimistic x 1 (list)

  16. Post #16
    2014 SH Pun Award Nominee
    Awesomecaek's Avatar
    January 2009
    20,680 Posts

    12:00

    You don't like your dog enough if you don't feed it your own flesh

    Edited:

    13:00 the fun part begins
    Reply With Quote Edit / Delete Reply Linux Czech Republic Show Events Funny Funny x 5Informative Informative x 2 (list)

  17. Post #17
    Charybdis's Avatar
    March 2010
    1,287 Posts
    I still prefer cats

    so sorry
    Reply With Quote Edit / Delete Reply Windows 7 United Kingdom Show Events Friendly Friendly x 15Dumb Dumb x 1 (list)

  18. Post #18
    Turbo Dyke
    .Lain's Avatar
    June 2010
    20,459 Posts
    It's so weird to think there used to be another humanoid creature on this planet, other than humans of course
    Reply With Quote Edit / Delete Reply Windows 8 United Kingdom Show Events Agree Agree x 12 (list)

  19. Post #19
    NotMeh works out at home.
    Perfumly's Avatar
    June 2009
    12,093 Posts


    I want an english bulldog
    Reply With Quote Edit / Delete Reply Windows 7 United States Show Events Disagree x 12Funny x 6Friendly x 3Agree x 3Informative x 1Winner x 1Optimistic x 1Dumb x 1 (list)

  20. Post #20
    Gold Member
    wizard`'s Avatar
    August 2009
    932 Posts
    According to some scientists Neanderthals are the original barer of the ginger gene; so in theory we would have a world full of gingers.
    Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7062415.stm

    Vikings?

  21. Post #21
    Gold Member
    Dennab
    August 2005
    12,791 Posts
    Step aside
    Thats fighting dirty.
    Always wanted an energetic corgi as a pet.
    Reply With Quote Edit / Delete Reply Windows 7 Portugal Show Events Agree Agree x 8 (list)

  22. Post #22
    Hello everyone! I would like you to know that I am not a fan of nudity!!!
    JgcxCub's Avatar
    May 2009
    6,450 Posts
    What's with all the dog love
    Pretty overrated IMO
    Reply With Quote Edit / Delete Reply Windows XP United Kingdom Show Events Disagree Disagree x 16Dumb Dumb x 5Agree Agree x 4 (list)

  23. Post #23
    It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen

    May 2011
    341 Posts
    What's with all the dog love
    Pretty overrated IMO

    asians are overated IMO
    Reply With Quote Edit / Delete Reply United States Show Events Agree Agree x 15Zing Zing x 9Funny Funny x 1Dumb Dumb x 1 (list)

  24. Post #24
    Gold Member
    Meller Yeller's Avatar
    June 2010
    10,300 Posts
    I still prefer cats
    Except that cats are selfish buttholes. They help no one which is the point this study makes.
    Reply With Quote Edit / Delete Reply Windows 7 United States Show Events Agree Agree x 17 (list)

  25. Post #25
    Scar's Avatar
    September 2010
    4,165 Posts
    Except that cats are selfish buttholes. They help no one which is the point this study makes.
    They only kept mice away from our wheat and shit, yeah no biggie, we would have totally survived the winters without them.
    Also, did an ancient civilisation worship dogs as gods? No?

    Cats:2
    Dogs:0

    Cats 4 lyfe
    Reply With Quote Edit / Delete Reply Windows 7 Germany Show Events Disagree Disagree x 12Funny Funny x 5Dumb Dumb x 3Winner Winner x 1 (list)

  26. Post #26
    Fahrenheit's Avatar
    May 2007
    489 Posts
    Lets just hope one day the dogs do not overthrow us as their masters.

    Reply With Quote Edit / Delete Reply Windows 7 Canada Show Events Winner Winner x 15Funny Funny x 3Optimistic Optimistic x 1 (list)

  27. Post #27
    LtKyle2's Avatar
    March 2011
    3,990 Posts
    Dogs are fucking awesome and will always be humanities bro's.

    Reply With Quote Edit / Delete Reply Windows 7 United States Show Events Friendly Friendly x 6Dumb Dumb x 1Funny Funny x 1 (list)

  28. Post #28
    Kabstrac's Avatar
    April 2012
    3,300 Posts

    German Shepherd


    German Shepherd master race
    Reply With Quote Edit / Delete Reply Windows 7 Anonymous Proxy Show Events Agree Agree x 16Funny Funny x 2Disagree Disagree x 1Dumb Dumb x 1 (list)

  29. Post #29
    Lord_Ragnarok's Avatar
    July 2009
    2,096 Posts
    Neanderthals also were not designed to run as well as human beings were, having shorter legs on the sides of their pelvises rather than underneath. I was watching a documentary on the History Channel a few years ago, and an anthropologist actually said that neanderthals had much more sophisticated technological and social practices than humans, but were far less aggressive. Human beings were generally more agile and ruthless than neanderthals were, according to the program I watched. I'm sorry that I don't actually have a source, though.

  30. Post #30
    Black's Avatar
    December 2009
    2,944 Posts

    German Shepherd


    German Shepherd master race
    Add some blood and you got a scary fucking picture.
    Reply With Quote Edit / Delete Reply Windows 7 Norway Show Events Agree Agree x 9Dumb Dumb x 1 (list)

  31. Post #31
    Gold Member
    Hellduck's Avatar
    March 2007
    5,739 Posts
    They only kept mice away from our wheat and shit, yeah no biggie, we would have totally survived the winters without them.
    Also, did an ancient civilisation worship dogs as gods? No?

    Cats:2
    Dogs:0

    Cats 4 lyfe
    its right there in the article that humans of that time worshiped dogs: "early humans, first of all, engaged in ritualistic dog worship."
    Reply With Quote Edit / Delete Reply Windows 7 United Kingdom Show Events Agree Agree x 7 (list)

  32. Post #32
    Mrglitch2000's Avatar
    February 2008
    2,048 Posts
    Funny enough, I just finished watching Cats and Dogs. (The one with Jeff Goldblum in it.)
    Reply With Quote Edit / Delete Reply Windows XP United Kingdom Show Events Optimistic Optimistic x 1 (list)

  33. Post #33
    Uncle Bourbon's Avatar
    November 2011
    4,739 Posts
    Except that cats are selfish buttholes. They help no one which is the point this study makes.
    Not all cats are selfish. You must've never had a cat.

    But yeah, dogs are more useful to humans.
    Reply With Quote Edit / Delete Reply Finland Show Events Agree Agree x 3 (list)

  34. Post #34
    Dennab
    December 2011
    5,623 Posts
    It's so weird to think there used to be another humanoid creature on this planet, other than humans of course
    There have been at least 5 different bipedal ancestors of ours, and that's not including all the evolutionary offshoots that we murdered or fucked into evolutionary oblivion.

  35. Post #35
    Gold Member
    Meller Yeller's Avatar
    June 2010
    10,300 Posts
    They only kept mice away from our wheat and shit, yeah no biggie, we would have totally survived the winters without them.
    Also, did an ancient civilisation worship dogs as gods? No?

    Cats:2
    Dogs:0

    Cats 4 lyfe
    Cats only eat the mice because they're delicious

    They don't do it because they love you

    Edited:

    Not all cats are selfish. You must've never had a cat.

    But yeah, dogs are more useful to humans.
    If a cat acts lovingly towards you, it's always because they have some ulterior motive
    Reply With Quote Edit / Delete Reply Windows 7 United States Show Events Agree Agree x 7Dumb Dumb x 1 (list)

  36. Post #36
    Bleach Qeef's Avatar
    June 2007
    1,656 Posts
    You got to remember that back in those days they didn't have some of the small bitch dogs we have now. They probably helped out a lot in hunting/scouting.

  37. Post #37
    Resplendent Reenactor
    Zillamaster55's Avatar
    June 2010
    17,661 Posts


    Look at my muscles.

    Look at them.
    Reply With Quote Edit / Delete Reply Windows Vista United States Show Events Funny Funny x 11Dumb Dumb x 2 (list)

  38. Post #38
    Uncle Bourbon's Avatar
    November 2011
    4,739 Posts
    they have some ulterior motive
    Free food and stuff

  39. Post #39
    Gold Member
    cecilbdemodded's Avatar
    January 2005
    6,307 Posts
    I picture a scene where a group of early humans are sitting around a fire near a stream, brainstorming ideas on how to deal with the Neanderthals.

    Grog tosses a stick into the stream "I wish I knew how we can gain an advantage over those guys..."
    A dog runs out into the stream and grabs the stick, bringing back to Grog.
    Grog tosses the stick back into the stream. "Dammit, how hard can it be, those guys are a bunch of boneheads"
    The dog brings the stick back to Grog again.
    Grog stiffens(his body, not his penis, well maybe his penis too) "I have an idea..."
    Reply With Quote Edit / Delete Reply Windows 7 Show Events Artistic Artistic x 1 (list)

  40. Post #40
    Is, in fact, a real hedgehog.
    Ezhik's Avatar
    April 2009
    14,296 Posts
    step aside dogs and cats
    you may be cute, but...
    Reply With Quote Edit / Delete Reply Windows 8 Russian Federation Show Events Friendly Friendly x 8Dumb Dumb x 3Funny Funny x 2Zing Zing x 1 (list)