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Happy New Year Everybody!

Most who work have the day off today so might have time to see this lovely nature film about the history of how wolves developed into “Man’s Best Friend”, the domestic dog.

Archeological records suggest that the earliest dogs arose around 20,000 years ago during the time of human hunter-gatherers, not later, during the dawn of agriculture, when dogs protected our harvests and quite literally helped us to build civilizations.

There are about 1 billion dogs on Earth today and all of them, from the tiny Chihuahua to the lumbering St. Bernard are descended from about a dozen Eurasian grey wolves whose distinct species no longer exists and which was not closely related to modern wolves.

Over the millennia, their hunting instincts were transformed into instincts of protection. A dog’s bark is part of the language developed by these domesticated animals to communicate with humans. Wolves do not bark.

We learn the history of popular breeds. Surprisingly, Great Danes were originally developed in Babylonia to hunt boar.

This stunning film takes us all around the world and offers sweeping vistas of Mongolian steppes, French forests and the Kalahari Desert using drone cameras and other innovative mounts that have the viewer moving alongside packs and herds. If you’re a dog lover, you will love this!

Alexandra Bruce

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Alexandra Bruce

Alexandra Bruce

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  • We got tugged once, for an alcohol breath-test in Lightning Ridge, where we worked an opal mine for a few years.
    One officer held his device and asked me to blow into it, and count to ten.
    I was up to three, when our dog Beluga, half maremma, half labrador, thrust her head over my shoulder, and loudly panted, right into the testing device.
    The policeman was unamused, but his companion saw the funny side.
    I was able to laugh because i’d had only one beer, an hour previous, and the dog had abstained completely, bless her

  • from multiple sources, wolves have been observed to bark when they want, which is seldom.
    Farley Mowat “Never Cry Wolf”, Leo Tolstoy “Encounters with Animals”, others. Saying that wolves can’t bark shows shallow research. And the self-satisfied, know-all voice grates, but is forgivable in the light of really great stories, and great dogs and people. And black rams. And clever monkeys. (Dumb farmers?)
    There’s a very good book “The Canine Clan” by John McGloughlin, quite old, and the genetic stuff may be dated, but excellent, and perhaps there may be new editions.
    One of my dogs, now passed on to the great source of all smells and juicy bones in the sky, learned to pull my wheelbarrow along my very smooth 400-yard long trail. He saved me untold effort for some months, till he decided to pull only when assisted by gravity, and to slack right off, on the uphill legs. From this evolution I could never dissuade him. This discovery gave him enormous pleasure.
    There has been plenty of time for dogs and wolves to have become domesticated, undomesticated, and redomesticted, dozens of times. The prehistoric segment at the start, is spoiled by fully confident expression of what is mostly rank speculation, by people, by the way, who never ever spent time living in wild situations. I loved the animals and the awesome cinematography, and will dream of the cavelady, pity about the vapid glint in her eye, but the hair!!! the young people who camp on the rivers in my part of the world, and leave a lot of rubbish, would give their middle-class millions for hair like that…. must have taken a sizeable percentage of the film’s budget
    Thanks for a great year, Alexandra, your contribution in our lives is considerable, and happy new year, everyone

  • A lovely film, but I believe its premise is wrong. I have read recent articles that describe the discovery of the skulls of intermediate evolution with the heads combining features of both the wolf and the domestic dog. I seem to remember that these skulls indicated this stage of evolution was roughly 40 thousands years earlier than the change of 40 thousands years cited here.

    • Which domestic dog skull? There are so many shapes!

      Older information used to say domesticated dogs were 30k years old but it looks to me that advances in DNA sequencing have now dated dogs to 20k years ago. I researched it before I wrote it up last night because I was already conversant in and fascinated by this story over 20 years ago.

      If you find what you’re referring to, please post it here! I swear I could do at least one dog story a week. They are so marvelous.

  • Dogs truly do merit their title of man’s closest friend. They’re faithful, keen, committed and tender and are known to enhance our physical and emotional wellness. With regards to choosing which hounds make the best pets.

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