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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 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.

"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer

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