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Domestication of animals helped humanity thrive.

A new theory coming out of Pennsylvania State University suggests that the interaction between animals and humans played a key role in the evolution of humanity.  Penn State anthropologist Pat Shipman has just published her paper "The Animal Connection And Human Evolution" in the latest edition of Current Anthropology

Her research introduces the idea that the domestication of animals drove the development of tool-making and language, both of which have driven the success of mankind, according to Physorg

"Establishing an intimate connection to other animals is unique and universal to our species," said Shipman. Shipman indicates that the animal connection had a major influence on human evolution, genetics, and behavior.
While Shipman acknowledges that there is an increasingly intimate and reciprocal set of interactions between animals and humans -- interactions that compel humans to adopt animals as pets -- she states that the it all began when humans began observing and exploiting animals.    

After watching animals and observing their habits, more than 2 million years ago, humans switched from a vegetarian diet to a meat-based diet.  Shipman said this happened because humans invented stone hunting tools that enabled them to compete with other predators, according to
 Thaindian News

"We shortcut the evolutionary process,” said Shipman. “We don’t have the equipment to be carnivores."

Animals were then domesticated as an extension of tool-making.  Shipman described domesticated animals as living tools that also provided valuable renewable resources.

Domesticated animals were utilized for their muscular power beyond human strength, use as transport and for raw materials. Managing these living tools required some way to express and retain this information and out of that need, the development of languages were formed.

Shipman hypothesizes that this animal connection, "gave a selective advantage to humans who had better abilities to observe, draw conclusions, communicate, and to make a new sort of living tool."

Shipman is also in the process of developing a book on her findings called "The Animal Connection".

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Make a Name for Yourself
By Reclaimer77 on 8/11/2010 3:38:22 PM , Rating: -1
Come up with some off the wall unique shit. Get published. Profit.

Seriously, nice theory. But I have a hard time calling this a "study" based on "findings". There isn't a single shred of evidence to support this theory. It's all speculation. And a lot of it seems to conflict heavily with existing fossil records and recovered remains of early man.

Claiming early man developed language because of interactions with "pets" that may or may not have even existed... that's a stretch. Good luck proving that one.

RE: Make a Name for Yourself
By Quadrillity on 8/11/10, Rating: -1
RE: Make a Name for Yourself
By Smartless on 8/11/2010 4:27:57 PM , Rating: 3
But is that why sometimes people look like their pets?

RE: Make a Name for Yourself
By CowKing on 8/11/2010 6:10:07 PM , Rating: 2
I think you have that backwards. Aren't the pets supposed to look like the owner?

RE: Make a Name for Yourself
By rs1 on 8/11/2010 4:22:15 PM , Rating: 2
For once I agree with you. This research appears to be based upon little more than the thought experiment of "how would ancient people have passed on the knowledge of animal husbandry? By developing communication skills, that's how". And while that's not an unreasonable conclusion, you get the same answer if you ask "how would ancient people have passed on the knowledge of how to make weapons" or "how would ancient people have passed on knowledge about hunting and gathering", both of which predate domesticated animals by a fairly significant span of time.

So sure, domesticated animals probably did play a role insofar as the process of domestication introduces new concepts that need to be communicated. However, it doesn't seem like there's any evidence to suggest that the role played by domesticated animals is any larger or more significant than the role played by weapons, tools, pottery, agriculture, or any other novel concept that people have come up with over the past hundred thousand years or so.

RE: Make a Name for Yourself
By clovell on 8/11/2010 5:05:01 PM , Rating: 2
I've gotta stop you, dude. Without having access to the actual article, it's really hard to call the theory baseless.

How does it conflict with fossil records?

RE: Make a Name for Yourself
By Reclaimer77 on 8/11/10, Rating: -1
RE: Make a Name for Yourself
By FITCamaro on 8/11/2010 10:17:42 PM , Rating: 1
Well we know the Egyptians had cats. But thats just because the cats were a super-intelligent race trying to steal the rotational energy of the earth who grew fat and lazy from us feeding and coddling them.

RE: Make a Name for Yourself
By Lazarus Dark on 8/11/2010 11:09:44 PM , Rating: 2
Bite my shiny metal... cat.

RE: Make a Name for Yourself
By clovell on 8/12/2010 10:33:12 AM , Rating: 2
> No it's not, it's easy. I just did it. :)

That made me smile. Seriously - This is one of the things that ticks me off about DT - we're lucky if the writer stops to look at the abstract, before posting a regurgitated story.

It is a tech site after all - we're mostly smarter than the average bear. But we don't get enough to actually discuss the merits of the research - just enough to get a click.

Come to think of it, this isn't unique to DT - the entire media world does it. <insert cataclysmic implications here>

RE: Make a Name for Yourself
By Ammohunt on 8/11/2010 6:07:49 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly quotes like this:

"We shortcut the evolutionary process,” said Shipman. “We don’t have the equipment to be carnivores."

are the tell all its just simple a false statement propagated by the Vegan establishment.

RE: Make a Name for Yourself
By Reclaimer77 on 8/11/2010 6:18:01 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. Man doesn't need the "equipment" to be carnivores. We have something way better. Intelligence and imagination. Without these two, we would still be in the jungle picking berries. These allowed us to make all the 'equipment' we would ever need, and more.

I didn't think about the Vegan angle, but maybe you're onto something.

RE: Make a Name for Yourself
By Harinezumi on 8/11/2010 7:29:24 PM , Rating: 3
I'm pretty sure that was her point. Our ancestors' ability to develop and utilize tools allowed them to become hunters and not just gatherers, in spite of having neither claws, nor fangs.

I really don't see a vegan angle in there. If anything, it's refreshing to see someone call animals what they are: living tools.

RE: Make a Name for Yourself
By mindless1 on 8/11/2010 8:10:49 PM , Rating: 2
Nor did we have the "equipment", meaning digestive system, to evolve into what we are today by being vegetarians.

Only now (meaning last few hundreds of years) that we have evolved to the point of selective crop raising in conjunction with understanding nutrition, can we make educated food choices if we wish to avoid eating meat and not end up with minimal muscle tone and bellies that look like that of a pregnant cow, all while having the extra energy to do more than only hunt for food and build huts, etc.

Everyone seems to think "evolution" is some past magic phase in history. Humans are evolving NOW at a more rapid pace than ever before!

RE: Make a Name for Yourself
By dajukey on 8/11/2010 8:40:17 PM , Rating: 2
I thought that, in order for humans to be "evolving NOW", people would have to be dying off by natural selection. If evolution were happening at a "rapid pace", people would have to be dying off in droves. Many people don't believe evolution applies to people because we have electronic food stamps and orgs like 'feed the children' keeping people from being 'picked' by natural selection.

RE: Make a Name for Yourself
By conejo99 on 8/11/2010 10:40:29 PM , Rating: 2
Some groups having more children and others groups having fewer children is enough for evolution to occur. To have much of an effect I'd guess whatever drives the different rates of reproduction would need to continue across multiple generations.

RE: Make a Name for Yourself
By mindless1 on 8/12/2010 8:31:15 AM , Rating: 2
Evolution of a species does not require the weak dying off, only that the strong...

We might even say that IS evolution, when a species evolves to the point where it is no longer struggling for survival, that all members are given a chance (too much of one in some opinions).

Then the question becomes, if you had the resources back that you spent supporting those who "might" eventually benefit mankind, would you make them fruitful or just drink a beer while watching a football game? The majority seems to think the latter, but taken on an individual basis, it varies.

RE: Make a Name for Yourself
By Zingam on 8/12/2010 1:28:56 AM , Rating: 2
And did this made us happier? I don't think so.
And there are still people in the jungle picking berries and they are definitely not any less intelligent. Less educated but not less evolved and less intelligent than those creating and using mighty electronic stuff. In fact 99% of the people in the modern world are just dummy users and do not create anything themselves. And they need even less skills to survive than those jungle children.

RE: Make a Name for Yourself
By mindless1 on 8/12/2010 9:26:09 AM , Rating: 2
Define intelligent. By my definition, yes the jungle dwellers are much less intelligent, closer to apes than people in modern society. However, I can't discount the environment, that if they had the formal education a modern society offers, only then could a fair comparison be made.

BUT, you are totally wrong writing "not less evolved", perhaps even extremely ignorant since evolution means dealing with life threatening issues including poor housing, disease, etc.

Yes 99% of people in the modern world are essentially leeches, but they were at least smart enough to stay in modern society instead of building a hut in the woods (which is cheaper), and you are foolish to think a jungle child needs less skills than a (ghetto?) child in a modern town... been there, done that, I have both urban and jungle survival skills, though I wish I didn't have the latter.

QUITE the opposite, but thanks for your naive input! JUngle people are basically lacking knowledge and live based on the limited amount of intelligence they have, which is the opposite of what makes humans prosper, dominate, etc.

It's like a backwards-assed stupidity that we only tolerate because we are blessed with recognition of the concept of free will. Thank goodness for that, free will rules!

RE: Make a Name for Yourself
By mindless1 on 8/12/2010 9:32:45 AM , Rating: 2
... should have read, that a jungle child would need MORE skills...
Damn the DT system that encourages NOT proofreading because of the nag preview button. Ironic. Stupidity.

RE: Make a Name for Yourself
By Ammohunt on 8/12/2010 2:31:07 PM , Rating: 2
It all falls in to the whole anti-meat agenda e.g. meat production causes global warming, we don't need to eat meat etc..

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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