How Dogs Became Our Best Friends
Dogs are known as “man’s best friend”. The history of their friendship goes long back; perhaps it is the oldest friendship among any two species.
Wolves and ancient people
Wolves were the descendants of today’s dogs. While it has been popularly believed that wolves and ancient people were hunting partners it has been considered a made-up story because wolves can easily hunt their prey and early people usually used to kill other carnivores who they considered as competition.
Who adopted whom?
As silly as it sounds, dogs adopted us. The wolves that were tolerant of humans ate their leftovers, this made their lives a bit easier. They also got safety living near human camps. Humans on the other hand got the benefit of cleaner areas as the wolves used to eat off the scrap.
The mutual benefits helped in strengthening their bonds. The humans provided wolves with safety and more reliable food and the wolves were useful herders, sled pullers, and guards in tribes. They alerted humans and gave them early warning if there was danger. The most significant benefit was the wolves’ sense of smell which helped humans in hunting. So, in a way, they did do cooperative hunting and the story we have been told isn’t entirely made up.
The newer generations of the wolves began socialising with the humans from infancy and since wolves instinctively pick alpha of the pack, the humans assumed the role of alpha and thus wolves obeyed them.
The wolves then evolved into the loving loyal dogs we have today. Every domestic dog belongs to the same species of wolves which helped our ancestors in hunting, making our friendship the oldest.