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Thursday, 12 February 2009

ooda funk it?

i've been reading lots about human origins. you know the sort of thing how the sickest most psychotic homo species killed all the others (probably ate them an' all) and went on to rule the world. great stuff. but, did you know we arguably wouldn't have the civilisation we have today without a little help from someone special? you know who i'm talking about...doggies!!!

yup, without dogs we wouldn't have cars, trains, central heating, the internet! just think, thanks to fido you're reading this now! but how is this possible? i hear you ask. they're cute an' all but the foundation of civilisation? that's going a bit far, what? i say, old chap, are you sure you don't need a lie down, perhaps a wee snifter? you looking a bit peaky..etc. but nay, i say nay sir, i am in fine fettle and even have evidence to back up my far-flung claims!

"nothing to do with me mate"

the basis of civilisation is four-fold. one (the commie in me hates to say it, but it's true) is private ownership of property. this was the first lesson we learnt from our furry friends. dogs need a master. they will choose the human they feel looks after their interests best and stick to 'em. this person becomes a 'dog-owner' this was our first foray into the world of ownership. the idea kinda stuck.

second is agriculture, and well, dogs didn't really teach us fuck-all in this respect. but hey, no theory is perfect right?

"you're no pinning this on me!"

third is animal husbandry. dogs were the first of many creatures to be domesticated it's obviously not a huge leap for early man to have thought "what's good for the goose/wolf..." and gone on to domesticate sheep, goats, pigs, cows and chickens.

fourth once you've built up a surplus you're then a target for raiders and teefs innit? what you need is an alarm system! why do you think dogs bark whereas wolves rarely (if ever) do? cause we selected the loudest dogs to warn against intruders!

"follow us! we'll show you the way!"

but how do you know we domesticated dogs before we settled down and started the process of building a civilisation? good question, this is where the latest high-tech genetic testing comes in. you will have seen (actually i doubt you did, you're probably not even reading this, but i live in hope) my earlier article on the mitochondrial lineage of our four legged friends.

the ol' mitochondrial clock is remarkably efficient at telling us the times at which certain species split from others (something too do with counting the number of mutations. no, i haven't got a clue either) and this gives us a tentative (tentative in that it might be completely wrong) date of 15,000 years ago for the 'first doggie' moments before human civilisation gets going! how about that? eh? fucking quality. that's what that is.

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