December 18, 2016

Thinking about coevolution with dogs.

“Invaders: How Humans and Their Dogs Drove Neanderthals to Extinction,” March 2015, by Pat Shipman, a retired anthropology professor. https://www.amazon.com/Invaders-Humans-Their-Neanderthals-Extinction/dp/0674736761

I wonder if neanderthals kept dogs/animals.

Shipman stated in a 2010 paper:
“A suite of unique physical and behavioral characteristics distinguishes Homo sapiens from other mammals. Three diagnostic human behaviors played key roles in human evolution: tool making, symbolic behavior and language, and the domestication of plants and animals. I focus here on a previously unrecognized fourth behavior, which I call the animal connection, that characterized the human lineage over the past 2.6 million years. I propose that the animal connection is the underlying link among the other key human behaviors and that it substantially influenced the evolution of humans.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/sites/default/files/attachments/72276/caproofs.pdf

A valuable, lengthy post on Shipman’s work is at:
The dog-human connection in evolution

Dogs and humans process voice in the same brain regions (2014):
http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822%2814%2900123-7?_returnURL=http%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS0960982214001237%3Fshowall%3Dtrue

A host of MRI studies is showing similarities in the brains of dogs and humans. Our language and symbolic behavior is intelligible across species. Dogs know that when we laugh we’re happy: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/your-dog-can-tell-from-your-voice-if-youre-happy-or-sad-180949807/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4779443/

Microexpressions were discovered fairly recently by human researchers, and that dogs read and understand them, showing dogs have an ability to intercept, comprehend, and react to detail and cues too subtle for humans to perceive (without slow-motion video playback and lots of study). Microexpressions are used by law enforcement to detect lies. Human communication often is hindered by misunderstandings but dogs are similar enough to humans to quickly get to the meat of a communication.

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