Was dog domestication the critical advantage for Sapiens over Neanderthalensis?

Pat Shipman argues / speculates at American Scientist that

Dog domestication may have helped humans thrive while Neandertals declined

The article is well worth having a look where my “take-aways” are

  • Dogs were domesticated by anatomically modern humans around (at least?) 30,000 years ago
  • Archaeological evidence of domesticated dogs at human sites seems to be restricted to AMH (Homo Sapiens) sites rather than Homo Neanderthalensis sites (though this is based on some assumptions of tool making to distinguish between such sites)
  • For meat-eating humans  hunting with dogs provides a significant advantage in terms of “yield” compared to hunting without dogs
  • The Sapiens-Neanderthalensis overlap period in Europe and the Middle East was from about 45,000 to about 30,000 years ago
  • Sapiens exceeded Neanderthalensis in sophistication of tools, density of tools, and the weight of captured prey
  • The population of Sapiens increased 10-fold during this period and overwhelmed Neanderthalensis
  • The domestication of dogs may have been a critical factor in this dominance by Sapiens
  • Communication through the eyes – relying on the human ability to communicate by eye movement and the canine ability to read such communication – may have been the “lucky happenstance” which allowed/led to the domestication of dogs by humans
Though fossil evidence of domesticated dogs is very sparse and the earliest is from around 30,000 years ago, there is no certainty about when domestication actually occurred. For it to have been a critical advantage over Neanderthalensis it would have to have started with some form of regular human-canine co-operation – eventually leading to domestication – perhaps some 50,000 years ago.

About ktwop

Scientist, technologist, salesman, manager, executive and now a consultant and author.
This entry was posted in AMH, Evolution, Homo Neanderthalensis, Homo Sapiens and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Was dog domestication the critical advantage for Sapiens over Neanderthalensis?

  1. Pingback: Sapiens + dogs >> Neanderthals « The k2p blog

  2. Pingback: Ancient dog domestication was the start of artificial selection by humans | 6,000 Generations

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