Where do dogs come from? Where does homo sapiens come from? Prof. Cass Sunstein believes the answer to both questions comes from a single source: domestication. It is agreed that dogs come from wolves (or more likely, that dogs and modern wolves have a common, wolf-like ancestor). Recent research is converging on the conclusion that human beings did not domesticate dogs; dogs domesticated themselves. Tameness, or docility, was the defining characteristic of the proto-dogs who are the ancestors of the modern breeds. This conclusion provides a window onto the notion of domestication, which is defined above all by a reduction in reactive aggression. Bonobos, sometimes described as the Dogs of the Apes, have the same relationship to chimpanzees as dogs have to wolves. Recent research also suggests that Homo sapiens has precisely the same relationship to extinct human species (such as Neanderthal Man) as bonobos do to chimpanzees, and dogs do to wolves. In a sense, Homo sapiens is the Dog of the Humans. A key reason is that Home sapiens has lower levels of reactive aggression.
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