Information about when humans first domesticateddogs, varies depending on the source. One version says that the first ancestor of modern dogs came to human habitation about 33 thousand years ago. These animals quickly found a common language with people - in exchange for warmth and food, they began to protect their homes from predators and accompany hunters during forays into dangerous territories. Recently, researchers have suggested that not every representative of the canine family could become a pet. There is a high degree of probability that people took to themselves only individuals who had innocent eyes and sad facial expressions than resembled themselves. Subsequently, people's preference for picking up pretty dogs greatly influenced their evolution - muscles appeared on their faces that provide them with the most mobile facial expressions.
How did dogs evolve?
Recently, scientists have put forward a very interestingspeculation - perhaps the ability of most dogs to build "puppy eyes" developed in them during evolution. Such thoughts of the researchers were prompted by the fact that in wolves the facial muscles are much less developed than in dogs. But, as you know, wolves are distant relatives of modern pets. According to the author of the new scientific work, Anne Burrows, thousands of years ago, it was pretty individuals who received the advantage in the form of life with people, so evolution began to endow all dogs with this property.
People's attention is usually drawn to their eyes.- with the help of them, they seem to convey emotions and inspire confidence due to their great resemblance to people. None of the other species of animals, even many beloved cats, can boast of the same degree of mutual understanding with people. If ancient people really paid attention to dogs with developed facial expressions, nature really could improve their facial muscles. And that is why modern canids have much more fast-twitch fibers in facial muscles.
Important differences between dogs and wolves
The authors of the scientific work noted that, for example,wolves lack the muscle that raises the "inner eyebrow". Modern dogs have it and use it very often - it is with the help of it that they make a cute, puppy look. Also, wild wolves are not able to externally pull the corners of their eyelids to their ears, while dogs thus create the appearance of smiling eyes. However, in fairness it should be said that not all breeds have such skills - the huskies, bred by the Chukchi of the northeastern part of Siberia, cannot express a wide range of emotions with their facial expressions.
See also: Vocabulary of dogs was the same as that of two-year-olds
Lifestyle of ancient dogs
It is noteworthy that for all its cuteness,the very first domestic dogs remained dangerous predators. In 2011, not far from the Siberian village of Tumat, scientists discovered the remains of a puppy that died 14,000 years ago. In cold conditions, the animal was very well preserved, thanks to which the researchers were able to extract a piece of meat from its stomach with pieces of yellow wool. Further examination of the remains showed that the pup had eaten meat from a woolly rhinoceros (Coelodonta antiquitatis) before his death. Needless to say, the size of these creatures could reach 4.5 meters?
In addition to assisting during hunting and guardingdwellings, dogs were used as mounts. Such a role was taken by individuals who lived on the territory of Siberia - some peoples harness them to sleds even today. It is believed that the first sled dogs appeared about 9 thousand years ago. Initially, scientists were confident that the use of dogs to overcome long distances was relatively recent, but the results of a study conducted in 2020 suggest that this happened a very long time ago. Moreover, scientific work has shown that sled dogs are very different from ordinary ones - at least they are not afraid of extreme cold and have increased endurance.
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Based on the above, noSurprisingly, today dogs are the second most popular pets after cats. Today, they are much less used for hunting and guarding - most often they are kept at home just as good friends. My colleague Lyubov Sokovikova told about how dogs and cats help people fight depression. If interested, here is the link.