Man´S Best Friend: Dogs Essay

1608 words - 7 pages

Dogs are the first domesticated animal, and commonly known as "man's best friend.'' Dogs have accompanied humans, and been considered pets, for around 10,000 years. They have been used for working, hunting, but most commonly as a pet. To this day, hundreds of different dog breeds exist, coming in various sizes, colors, and shapes. Although dogs are currently viewed primarily as pets, they have not always been viewed this way and have had an evolution of their own. To fully understand dogs, one must take a look at where dogs came from and how they have evolved.
Dogs are a subspecies of the gray wolf. Dogs have inherited many behaviors from the wolf ancestors they have evolved from, which ...view middle of the document...

One of these differences include the fact that "the majority of dog breeds have floppy ears and short snouts, a characteristic only found in wolf puppies," (Difference). This example shows the retention of juvenile traits in dogs. All wolves also have "some sort of shade of piercing yellow eyes," (Difference). Dogs most of the time do not have yellow eyes, but rather brown eyes, or blue eyes. The biggest difference between the two would probably be the size and mental state of the two. Wolves are "much larger than dogs in body size and head size. This is because wolves have larger brains and therefore are more intelligent than dogs. Due to this dogs "only develop to about the mental state of a month old wolf puppy," (Difference). Mentally, dogs never reach the same capacity of wolves, which is what makes them so controllable through commands, and seem to always want to please their owner. While dogs are a very dependent animal, which largely rely on humans, wolves are the opposite. Wolves are a very independent animal and have self-supporting traits, which is a major part of what differs the wolf species from dogs.
To fully understand where dogs evolved from, it is important to also look at where the origins of the gray wolf species began, essentially the grandparent of the dog species. The ancestors of the gray wolf are believed to be a species called the Miacidae. This group was from the "territory period and were carnivores which evolved from primitive insectivores which had lived alongside the dinosaurs during the Cretaceous Period," (World). The species of gray wolf are a relatively new species which evolved within the past one million years. The gray wolf species also most likely originated in Asia according to sources, and "they probably took up residence in North America some 700,000 years ago, after having crossed the Pleistocene land bridge which connected the two continents at the time," (World). These species of gray wolf is where the species of dog would eventually come from, upon their own domestication.
How dogs evolved into domesticated animals is largely disputed, it has been accepted that human interaction played a significant role into it. A few theories have been suggested as how domestication occurred. A popular theory suggests humans "began taking in wolf pups and eventually were able to tame them." Humans would have had to train wolf puppies from a very young age in order to tame the wolves. Another theory suggests "the tamest wolves would rummage through human trash sites to find food." This leads to the idea that dogs are essentially tame wolves. Due to the wolves feeding in this manner, "these tamer wolves were more likely to survive and evolved into dogs through natural selection," (McGrath). These are two of the more popular theories on how they became domesticated, but no precise answer has yet been solidified. It is still wondered by scientists how dogs got such different looks than wolves and act in such...

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