Monday, March 7, 2011

Book 15: Dogs- Domestication and the Development of a Social Bond

This book by Darcy Morey is now my favorite history-of-dogs book.

It took me months to get through it, the book is a compilation of a ton of research projects done all over the world. And it's not in the most easy-to-read format.

There are parts about the different theories of domestication, chapters on when people were eating dogs and when dogs were buried and when dogs were buried with people. There is a chapter about dogs and music and a little about the modern roles that dogs fill.

I had no idea of the thousands of known sites where dogs had been buried intentionally, and often with people. One of the oldest is in Idaho and is thousands of years old. Apparently there are dog-human burial sites all over the world, it wasn't just a practice in one location in one time period. Here and there, other animals are also found buried with humans, but the impression I had from this book was that there is a surprising (or not?) number of dogs.

And the dog remains also give us other information. There's one place (with hundreds of burials) where most were puppies. Apparently there's a lot of thought that the puppies were used in some sort of religious practice. And in another location, a very very old dog was found buried with a child in a thousands-of-years-old site. The dog had extreme signs of old age, and to live as long as it had, it must have been closely cared for by humans in it's later years.

Despite being a dog person... and I know how attached people are to their dogs. It makes everything I do seem so trivial. People have been caring about their dogs for a ridiculously long time.

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