March 14, 2006

Dog domestication and human evolution

The HapMap analyses are revealing a large number of genes that have been under relatively recent selection. The default explanation for this tends to be the development of agriculture, which certainly was important. But the domestication of dogs preceded that and may contribute an important piece to the puzzle. Several insightful people, such as Stephen Bodio, Jerry Pournelle, and the autistic animal sciences professor Temple Grandin, have suggested, in various ways, that our developing a symbiotic relationship with dogs might have helped humans progress to our present state. For example, Jerry has hypothesized that when we were able to hand the job of smelling when tracking prey off to our dog partners, we could then have devoted that expensive brain real estate to higher order thinking.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

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