If you and your dog are inseparable, you probably think you've got your furry friend figured out. On some level, you probably do.
Still, there are some lesser-known facts about dogs that might surprise you. The way dogs think, how they see the world, and where they come from are all shrouded in a little bit of mystery. There's still a lot to learn, but we're sharing three things that you might not have known, and that might change the way you think about your pooch.
Let's take a look.
1. Dog's Aren't Exactly Descendants of Wolves
The idea that "dogs came from wolves" is one we often take for granted. The truth is that dogs were domesticated so long ago that they might have actually come from the wolf's predecessor, the Late Pleistocene Wolf. Genetic evidence tells us that the Late Pleistocene Wolf split into two categories some 35,000 years ago.
Those categories are Canis lupus (the grey wolf) and Canis familiaris (the domesticated dog). This suggests that dogs and wolves are more like cousins, and the ancient Pleistocene wolf is more like a parent.
2. Civilization Would Be Different Without Dogs
At the very least, it would have taken humans longer to advance without the help of dogs.
It's important to remember that dogs were domesticated at a time when modern life was in its infancy. There wasn't time to spend on things that wouldn't directly benefit the individual or the group. Similarly, there weren't always additional resources to spare on something like a pet.
The reason groups dedicated time and resources toward domesticating and training dogs is that dogs are incredibly useful. A well-trained dog can do things that no human, no matter how skilled, could ever do.
Dogs advanced civilization by:
- Guarding livestock
- Protecting crops
- Warning communities of intruders
- Herding livestock
- Controlling pests
Crops and livestock were incredibly vulnerable and incredibly important. The expert protection that dogs provided almost certainly saved countless communities in pre-historic times. That protection extends to this day, and dogs continue to perform duties that modern technology can't reproduce.
For example, dogs can reliably detect specific viruses on the spot.
3. There's a Lot We Don't Know About Dogs
Dogs are still a mystery in many ways. The nature of their thoughts, the extent of their intelligence, and the far-reaching physical and mental benefits that dogs have on human beings are still a mystery.
We all know who our dogs are, but what's going on behind those sweet and loving eyes? It's difficult for humans to express our inner worlds, and we have the power of language. Dogs relate a wealth of information via body language, eye contact, and the occasional bark.
If they can do that with such limited tools, just imagine how much more there is to learn about these wonderful animals!