WOLF WITHIN: The Astonishing Evolution of Man's Best Friend

WOLF WITHIN: The Astonishing Evolution of Man's Best Friend

PROFESSOR BRYAN SYKES    Book Number: 89081    Product format: Paperback

The domesticated dog whose affection has transformed the lives of millions of owners started life as a fierce and wild carnivore - a wolf, in fact. But that is only one side of the evolutionary equation, and the author shows how homo sapiens, an equally aggressive carnivore, adapted over the millennia to become a creature capable of co-operating with other species to their mutual benefit. The author argues that in the complex process of evolution that saw homo sapiens rising to be the dominant species, a key factor in this development was the transformation of the wolf into a multi-purpose helpmate and companion. He imagines a scene in which two hunters kill an auroch and offer the remains of the carcase to the wolves. The two species then begin to co-operate in the reindeer hunt, with the wolves holding a deer at bay until the hunters arrive with their spears. In his study of evolution, Darwin was unable to identify the origin of dogs. Modern genetic testing, however, has answered conclusively that they are descended from wolves. The oldest fossil dog lived in Nebraska between 33 and 26 million years ago. When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone Park, the trees were regenerated as there were fewer deer to strip off the bark, and whole hillsides recovered their forestation. The author concludes with contemporary projects to map dogs' genes and trace their ancestral habitats. 290pp, paperback, black and white reproductions.
Published price: £9.99
Bibliophile price: £3.50

Additional product information

ISBN 9780008244453
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