A Dog in the Cave: The Wolves Who Made Us Human Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2017-04-27 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 0 user ratings

""For many people today, dogs are essential - a bridge between the human world of walls and wires and abstract concepts and the wild, animal world - a natural world of sights, sounds, and smells, and the distant memory of our own evolutionary past. In our dogs' eyes we see reflected who we are and from where we've come."

I felt that the author was overstating the results of some of the scientific studies mentioned. The claim that dogs are excellent imitators is actually pretty shaky. But, overall, this was a good read packing a lot of information.
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"The fossilized discovery of the prints of a boy and his dog walking through the Chauvet cave, in 1997, revealed carbon-dating much earlier than previous thinking about the domestication of dogs from wolves. Scientists are now looking at the evolution of dogs and of humans in a parallel way - noting where and when fossils have turned up and, in particular, the nuanced differences between wolves and wolf-dogs. It is thought that a relationship developed between modern humans and wolves that involved a collaboration, perhaps to hunt, and that this partnership thrived whereas Neanderthals did not. For younger readers, there are asides about the interdisciplinary sciences collaborate, the tools they use, and how hypotheses are formed. Tidbits about dogs and dog fanciers show humans long history of creating a myriad of dog breeds that have little resemblance to their ancestors." said.

"WOW I loved this book. Science until recently believed wolves evolved into dogs in the space of a few generations, say 12,000 years ago, when more sociable wolves began eating human leftovers at the edges of human settlements and alliances formed. But in 2008 fossils were unearthed in Europe that show dogs were human companions in the Paleolithic period more than 36,000 years ago when humans were still nomadic hunters who had not yet begun to farm or domesticate other animals. Science is exploring whether humans' and dogs' affinity for one another may have caused our two species to "co-evolve": did having a trainable alpha predator as a hunting companion and guard allow humans to settle into communities and cultivate, a far more safe, stable and sustainable food source than hunting? Did some early human senses and traits diminish - such as keen hearing and smell - because dogs could now do that for us? Fascinating that while we share 99% of our DNA with primates, our ape relatives are unable to read human cues, gestures and body language the same way dogs innately do from puppyhood. The author also details differences between wolves and dogs, what we've learned about how dogs think from MRIs, how law enforcement, search/rescue and therapy dogs are trained, and more. Filled with tons of gorgeous photos, multiple chapters-within-a-chapter that delve deeper into a scientific story, and chock full of extra resources at the back of the book. A MUST READ for all dog lovers, ages 12+, would also make a wonderful classroom or science room addition." said.

"Give to all your dog lovers. Scientific study of the relationship between dogs and humans has exploded recently: how far back does the relationship go? What does each species get out of the relationship? How smart are dogs, anyway? We know dogs evolved from wolves, but have humans evolved because of dogs? The 1st couple of chapters were light on actual facts, but once it got down to it, the human/dog relationship is pretty fascinating. For instance, I thought that the hypothesis that newly modern humans were able to out-compete the previously very successful and adaptable Neanderthals in just a few thousand years because of their new relationship with another alpha predator, wolves, really cool to think about." said.

" I received a copy of this book from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. " said.

" You don't have to be a kid to love this book! See my Amazon review: " said.

"I've mostly enjoyed this middle - high school level non-fiction book. I didn't realize that dogs as a subject of biologicial study had been over looked for so long. Only in the 21st century have scientists started to question assumptions about when and how dogs came to be.

But in chapter 1, I was troubled by a throw-away statement about Native Americans. I'm glad that the history of dogs includes native Americans from North and South America. But on page 21 the author says "as native peoples and cultures were largely obviated, so were their dogs." and "most of the indigenous dogs who survived the onslaught gradually disappears, their genetic heritage was lost to inbreeding with European dogs." That turn of phrase seems harsh. Native people have not been obliviated; overlooked and marginalized - yes. Maybe blanket statements like that could be toned down for the final edition?
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"A Dog in the Cave by Kay Frydenborg is such a wonderfully written book that I had to read and absorb it slowly like a soothing cup of hot chocolate on a cold day. It is deep and thought provoking, it discuss man and wolves as they co-evolve together like no other animals on Earth. It reads not like a research or science book but like a mystery that lovingly describes the colorful characters along the thousands of years it takes and the multiple changes they take together. It discusses how things changed, what happened then, and why. It is a wonderful science book that is so "readable" and touching I forgot it was a "science" book. The book opens explaining how they find footprints of a child about 10 years old in a cave with a pre-dog/still wolf type creature prints with the child in the cave, obvious his friend and companion. Those and others are dated as far back as 36,000 yrs ago! Wow. This book amazed me and touched me with the science, research of man and wolf. A must read for animal lovers but esp. dog lovers! Thank you NetGalley for suggesting this book!" said.

May 2017 New Book:

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