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Re: [xmca] RE: co-evolution of humans and canids

Peter & Rod

The articles posted both point in the same direction as the documentary I
Rod, the research Dawkins described on the silver foxes is in the
documentary and you actually SEE the unintended physical changes as the
silver foxes come to resemble dogs.
However, dogs genetically are related to wolves, as the article Peter
submitted emphasizes.

The particular narrative one composes to "explain" the evolutionary changes
is speculative BUT what does seem relevant is that the COORDINATION of human
and wolfe interactivity did transform the wolves capacity to "understand"
the "intentions" of humans.  This interactive coordination can be called a
form of "communication" that is a result of ATTUNEMENT [however one explains
that process.
It was interesting that very young puppiess had this capacity to "attune" to
human "intentions" [as seen on the documentary] but baby wolves raised with
humans from birth never achieved this capacity.

It seems to speak to a distinction between "attunement" and "cognition" and
may possibly indicate "attunement" is foundational to the later development
of "cognition"


On Wed, Nov 10, 2010 at 10:20 AM, Rod Parker-Rees <
R.Parker-Rees@plymouth.ac.uk> wrote:

> This is a fascinating argument but what of the evidence from Dimitri
> Belyaev's programme of selective breeding of silver foxes for tameness
> (described by Richard Dawkins here:
> http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/book_extracts/article6808173.ece)? Belyaev found that foxes selectively bred for tameness soon began to
> look, sound and behave more like dogs than foxes. What would be the
> equivalent changes in the lupification of humans?
> All the best,
> Rod
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On
> Behalf Of Peter Farruggio
> Sent: 10 November 2010 14:30
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>  Subject: [xmca] co-evolution of humans and canids
> This may have some connection to Larry Purss' posting on human/dog
> relationship. In any case, an interesting angle on the influence of nurture
> (culture and context) upon nature, along the lines of Engel's speculations
> on tool use.
> Article:
> http://www.uwsp.edu/psych/s/275/science/coevolution03.pdf
> Abstract
> Dogs and wolves are part of the rich palette of predators and scavengers
> that co-evolved with herding ungulates about 10 Ma BP (million years before
> present). During the Ice Age, the gray wolf, Canis lupus, became the top
> predator of Eurasia. Able to keep pace with herds of migratory ungulates
> wolves became
> the first mammalian "pastoralists". Apes evolved as a small cluster of
> inconspicuous treedwelling and fruit-eating primates. Our own species
> separated from chimpanzee-like ancestors in Africa around 6 Ma BP and-
> apparently in the wider context of the global climate changes of the Ice
> Age-walked as
> true humans (Homo erectus) into the open savanna.
> Thus an agile tree climber transformed into a swift, cursorial running ape,
> with the potential for adopting the migratory life style that had become
> essential for
> the inhabitants of the savanna and steppe. In the absence of fruit trees,
> early humans turned into omnivorous gatherers and scavengers. They moved
> into the
> steppe of Eurasia and became skilled hunters. Sometime during the last Ice
> Age, our ancestors teamed up with pastoralist wolves. First, presumably,
> some humans adopted the wolves' life style as herd followers and herders of
> reindeer and other hoofed animals. Wolves and humans had found their match.
> We propose that first contacts between wolves and humans were truly mutual,
> and that the subsequent changes in both wolves and humans are understood
> best as co-evolution.
> Pete Farruggio
> ________________________________________
> From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] on behalf
> of Larry Purss [lpscholar2@gmail.com]
> Sent: Tuesday, November 09, 2010 11:42 PM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [xmca] NOVA documentary on Public Broadcasting [PBS]
> I want to point out a fascinating documentary I just watched called "Dogs
> Decoded" that is relevant to topics on CHAT.
> The evolution of the human/dog relationship  was explored and some of the
> discoveries are astounding.
> There is one particular dog that recognizes over 350 distinct words.  When
> this particular dog is shown a PICTURE [a representation] in 2 dimensions
> of
> an  object it has never seen before it can go into another room and locate
> that object. This was an activity that the dog had never engaged in before.
> The show also documents an ongoing experiment in Russia [since 1950] that
> has been trying to domesticate silver foxes.  In each generation, the
> tamest
> 1% of the foxes [least agressive and most "attuned" to humans] were
> selected
> for breeding.  Within 8 generations, the wild dogs were sharing the
> attributes of domestic dogs such as "orienting to humans eye gaze and
> responding to pointing gestures.  This "attuning" behavior is unique to
> domesticated dogs and is not seen in any other canines or primates.
> This level of interspecies attunement and joint coordination of shared
> activity has profound significance for thinking about "human "attunement".
> The documentary also showed infant wolves being raised with humans from
> birth but they could not be domesticated. The implications are that because
> dogs have shared and coordinated activities [communication] with
> humans,[for
> thousands of years] humans ability to "communicate" has transformed the
> developmental trajectory of dogs who now are uniquely able to
> "understand" human communication in a way that is not evident in any other
> species.
> I believe all NOVA documentaries can be accessed as podcasts after they
> have
> aired on TV.
> I would highly recommend watching this fascinating documentary.
> Larry
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