It's clear dogs evolved alongside people. The evidence continues to mount. New research suggests dogs can digest carbohydrates far better than wolves can, and gaining that ability may have been an important step in taming the animals, as discovered by evolutionary geneticist Erik Axelsson of Uppsala University in Sweden and his colleagues report online January 23 in Nature. Axelsson said that their findings show that the digestive system of dogs have adapted to be able to live on a diet similar to ours.
Comparing dog to wolf DNA, the authors pinpointed several changes in starch and sugar-processing genes that was presumably adapted early dogs to better able to digest the scraps they scarfed at the edge of human settlements.
And that's how it happened. Lots of evidence by those who study this sort of thing had suggested that a long lost relative of today's dog (a relative of today's wolf) began to take interest thousands of years ago in human settlements because they ate the trash which bordered these places. The clean-up crew benefited the humans. What's more they'd howl to warn of predators, big, giant sabre-toothed types, who were dangerous to people as well.
"Ah ha," said those early people, "This early warning is an inexpensive security system."
Okay - maybe they didn't put it in those words....but what happened from there - pretty quickly, over hundreds of years, some bold individuals began to go inside the human settlements (where they may have received extra food and protection) and had their puppies there. Those pups grew up to be trusted friends who would eventually accompany men on hunts, and provide further protection of the settlement. The relatives of dogs received food, and the symbiotic association between people and dogs began - and, of course, continues to this day. People thousands of years ago were even buried with dogs - suggesting the human/animal bond isn't a new phenomenon.
According to Axelsson, the food our ancestors fed the early dogs wasn't exactly Royal Canin, it was a combination of roots, porridge and possibly bread. Of course, dogs chomped on bones of whatever they helped people to catch, and likely were fed scraps of meat.
No one knows for sure when or where the first true dogs came into being, likely their appearance even pre-dates Larry King, experts suggest around 12,000 years ago. Of course, over time, the relationship continued and some dogs bred specifically bred for various tasks, to hunt and to guard were likely the first, and later to herd, and eventually just to be our devoted friends.
So when a handful of dog trainers (like Cesar Millan) and others compare dogs and wolves, it's really no different than comparing people and gorillas.
(This post was suggested by Facebook friend Howard Miller)