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In Defense of Dogs: A book about the demise of dogs?

[large thumbnail url=”in-defense-of-dogs-a-book-about-the-demise-of-dogs” filename=”news” year=”2011″ month=”09″ day=”09″] [thumbnail icon url=”in-defense-of-dogs-a-book-about-the-demise-of-dogs” filename=”news” year=”2011″ month=”09″ day=”09″]  Fascinating article about how attempting to perfect the eugenics of purebred dogs might be indicative that dogs are a species on the decline.

(Sydney Morning Herald) – BE WARNED: this is a serious book about dogs, unrelated to the soppy stuff written by men of a certain age who, children gone, find themselves spending a lot of time alone with the family dog.

John Bradshaw’s title assumes that dogs need defending and the author makes a strong case for this. He thinks dogs might well have had their day. This is a sad state of affairs because it has been a long day.

Few pieces of archaeological evidence are more poignant than the one the author cites as an indication that the relationship between dogs and humans might go back as long as 26,000 years.

In the deep reaches of the Chauvet cave in Ardeche, France, are the oldest human footprints in Europe. They were made by a boy, perhaps an eight-year-old. He was carrying a torch. For 45 metres, paw prints show that with him walked a proto-dog, a canid, somewhere between a wolf and a dog. It was just a boy and his dog going to look at cave paintings, then only 5000 years old.

The argument between archaeologists and DNA scientists about how long humans have kept dogs is far from settled. Bradshaw thinks 20,000 years is about right. For most of this time, dogs have been our fellow workers and companions, able to communicate with us in a way no other animal can. They have hunted with us, herded and guarded other animals for us and carried us and our goods.

We would never have had a decent night’s sleep if dogs had not prowled the fringe of the encircling gloom, head alert to every unwelcome sound and smell…

Read the entire article on smh.com.au: A Species Hounded

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