Wolves became dogs because hunters and gatherers gave them the meat left over from the hunt. As a result, wolves became tame and gradually evolved into dogs, Finnish researchers believe.
Scientists have been baffled about exactly how wolves can be domesticated. It’s roughly known when it occurred: between 27,000 and 40,000 years ago. This makes the wolf the only animal that was domesticated before humans began farming. But how did this happen and why? Did we tame wolves because they were good for hunting, or did they gradually become tamed because they shared the meat that humans had looted?
Maria Latienen and her colleagues believe that plenty of “clean” meat – without much fat – was available during the Ice Age. Wolves can persist with this for several months, because they mainly need the proteins. On the other hand, humans need more of various nutrients. So, according to Latinin, people clearly sometimes had meat leftovers that they could share with wolves. she writes In Scientific Nature Reports.
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That would have been the starting point for domestication. After that, people may have adopted wolf dogs who no longer have parents. They would have been kept as a kind of pet, which could also help out hunting at some point.
There is clearly no solid evidence for this theory. But researchers are trying to prove their work with numbers. For example, they calculated how much meat should be available in winter at that time, based on the number of predators that were alive at that time.
How do humans tame animals? NPO Focus explains it in one Extensive animation.
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