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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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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>

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