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Do Indigenous American Peoples’ stories inform the study of dog domestication?

October 26, 2019

I discuss the article “Relationships Between Indigenous American Peoples and Wolves 1: Wolves as Teachers and Guides” (Fogg et al. 2015) and the book “The First Domestication: How Wolves and Humans Coevolved” (Pierotti and Fogg 2017). The article proposed that published stories about interactions between indigenous American peoples and wolves (Canis lupus) provide insight into wolf-human relationships as humans began domesticating wolves. In the book, the authors offer a theory of how wolves and humans coevolved by building on the information in the article and the authors’ long experience with captive and pet wolves, wolf-dog hybrids, and dogs. I (1) present arguments and evidence that question the value of indigenous American stories for drawing conclusions about the relationship between early humans and wolves 14,000 yrs BP; (2) demonstrate how indigenous American stories contradict documented information about wolf biology, behavior, and known interactions with humans; and (3) point out important information not considered by the authors about wolf attacks on humans and the importance of rabies in the wolf-human relationship.

Publication Year 2019
Title Do Indigenous American Peoples’ stories inform the study of dog domestication?
DOI 10.14237/ebl.10.1.2019.1474
Authors L. David Mech
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Ethnobiological Letters
Index ID 70249744
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center