Most of us are familiar with the old saying that a dog is man’s best friend, but research has shown that this is not necessarily the case. While it may have been true in times past, the situation seems to have turned around. With roles changing in the household between men and women, it’s becoming apparent that the relationships between family pets and different members of the household have also evolved. According to the New York Post, studies about the relationships between dogs and their pet parents reveals a striking change in the relationships that these pets have with women. When investigating how the status of dogs has changed from being a man’s best friend to cherished members of the family, it was revealed that women play a vital role in this evolution in family values. It was discovered that women have had a huge impact on the bond that dogs form with males. Anthropological studies found that women’s involvement with family dogs are responsible for their elevated status in the family.
A look at the history of dogs and men
For centuries dogs have been the faithful companions of men, working alongside them to hunt for prey to provide food for the families. They’ve also been used as ranch hands to help herd livestock and keep them in check. Dogs have been used for dozens of jobs throughout history. Men were considered to be the breadwinners in the distant past, and dogs spent most of their time working with them. Through the years dogs have come to be esteemed as loving and affectionate family pets. Some have been elevated to the status of humans in their families. Dogs are now viewed as more important in society and activists groups seek to protect their rights and to improve living conditions for them. Laws have been passed to protect the rights of animals by outlawing abusive or neglectful treatment of them.
Dogs and humans have evolved together
Live Science suggests that dogs and humans have evolved together in their new relationship in society. Domestication of wild dogs is believed to have happened about 32,000 years ago when humans domesticated gray wolves. This is the believed origin of domesticated dogs. Both species have changed throughout the centuries and adapted to changing environments and social conventions. It is believed that even the digestive organs and brains of dogs and humans may have evolved at the same time.
According to Tree Hugger, researchers believe that the facial anatomy of dogs has also changed over time. They suggest that this phenomenon occurred to enhance communication with humans. The process happened through natural selection as dogs became more domesticated and were bred and raised by humans. The interspecies relationship evolved into a remarkable co-dependency. Dogs helped with work-related tasks with humans depending on their help. Humans in turn provided food and shelter for dogs and the dependency on one another grew. The need for enhanced communications grew and nature provided physical changes that helped humans and dogs to better understand one another.
Dogs are remarkably adept at understanding cues
Dogs can understand certain words that humans speak to them. Some of the more intelligent breeds can understand as many as 250 words. They also understand other nonverbal cues such as the direction of a gaze, or pointing, and other hand gestures. They also understand the meaning in tone and volume of their masters’ voice. The facial evolution of dogs deals with muscle development. Dogs now can raise their eyebrows and make more facial expressions. These are nonverbal ways that dogs communicate with people.
DNA analysis is evidence of co-evolution
Smithsonian Magazine points out that recent technology that allows for the analysis of DNA shows that human influence has had an impact on canine evolution. Since the days of antiquity, dogs have been found buried with their masters with indications that they held a prominent place in society. Researchers acquired the genetic material of over 2,000 ancient dogs through their exhumed remains. They also compared genetic materials from humans from the same periods to learn about any changes that occurred over the past several thousand years. They discovered that when humans still survived as hunter-gatherers, dogs were living among them as family pets. The information gathered helped researchers to compare the DNA from thousands of years ago. They use it to trace lineages of humans and dogs throughout the ages. This allows them to see how they both changed and adapted physically over time. The evidence confirmed the University of Washington’s hypothesis that people and dogs evolved in tandem.
Dogs have come a long way since the days of antiquity. As humans, we’ve evolved significantly as well. It’s strongly believed that humans and dogs evolved alongside each other in ways that enhanced the relationship between the two. Dogs were seen as workers to help men accomplish hunting and other tasks. They have grown to become highly respected and beloved members of our families. They are highly revered as pets. We take extraordinary measures to ensure that they receive the very best possible care, nutrition, and comfort. Some pets are more pampered than others. Dogs have developed the ability to communicate more effectively with people. Dogs have enjoyed the benefits of close associations with people throughout the past several thousands of years. This ushered in an adaptation process. The relationship resulted in physical changes in the facial muscles. This gives dogs the ability to show more expressions as nonverbal communication cues. Their digestive systems have changed to accommodate the differences in diet. They’ve gone from strictly carnivores to mammals that eat more of a diverse diet. Their brains have also changed with enhanced capabilities for understanding communications with people. Dogs were at one point considered to be man’s best friend. Now we’re told that it’s women who get the credit for elevating their status in society in more modern times.