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The author in the article says many things about dogs. According to him, dogs are that animal that can fool a person by getting him to spend everything he has while still feeling happy about it. The do all kinds of outrageous behavior but we still love them. If the same kind of behavior was being done by somebody else we would have finished the relationship. If biologists could see the dogs for which they really are, they would categorize them as social parasites and would compare them to the cuckoo bird. As all human beings see is that a cuddly dog needs to be fed and taken care of. They don’t realize that it is not one of their own and has been thrust upon them by the mother of that puppy.
People share many characteristics with dogs, as they both get lonely shouldn’t it be a good idea to have a companion who can love you and play with you. Children and the older generation can truly cherish and in the case of children can develop as individuals with the help of dogs. Yes, had it been somebody else we would have complained immediately but that somebody else can speak, a dog is a speechless animal.
The author says that people are willing to spend a lot of money on dogs. The amount comes out to be five billion dollars on dog food and seven billion dollars on canine veterinary service. Another aspect of spending on dogs includes the aggression they show towards other human beings, especially children. Dog bites have increased and cost the U.S. economy $250 million in 1996. This amount of spending on dogs is less as compared to all the comforts that the dogs provide us. If we perform a cost benefit analysis then we find out that it is not a rational bargain on our part.
Human beings are always willing to spend large amounts of money on people or animals they love. We do research on endangered species and many researches fall in love with the animal, they would do anything to protect them. Why should it be any different with the dog? Those who can afford to spend large amounts of money on their dog should do so because it is an important part of their lives.
The author gives us some scientific explanation about relationship between dogs and humans. Their evidence confirms that it is very different from what we thought it to be. This scientific research was called the Dog Genome Project and will develop genetic tests for inborn diseases. Genes help us find out the causes of inborn diseases but they are also helping us find what changes have been made to the dog population because of interaction with the human population.
Like archaeology, genetics can also find out about the history, evolution and social ecology of the dogs. Previously, domestic animals were not paid much attention and were not thought of as good study subjects. When it comes to dog, all humans are sentimental including the scientists. Scientists when talking about dogs would say things which scientifically can not be right or true.
Aguirre and a few other scientists set out to study the dog. They wanted to find out the roots of the degenerative diseases which cause small breeds of dog to go blind. This disease shares many similarities with a human disease known as retinitis pigmentosa. As time passed by this study has broadened its objective to include a map of the entire dog genome. Samples were collected by these scientists. These samples belong to three different generations of dogs and were crosses between dogs. Not much cross breeding takes place in dogs which make them a simpler subject as compared to humans.
The scientists used the junk DNA to create molecular probes which were further enhanced to make the first linkage in the map of dog genome. The gene helps scientists know where they are on the genome and variable bits help in searching for the genetic differences that exist between dogs. As dogs have many puppies at a time some diseases can be easily mapped on them.
Many institutes have started funding research on dogs because many diseases that are in dogs can be linked to humans. The defective gene which causes a disease in a dog has been found in humans as well. Scientists have come to the conclusion that almost ninety to ninety-five per cent of the dog genome and the human genome are the same.
There must be some explanation for the behavior of the dog. There must be some characteristics which explain why it so loyal, loving and friendly. Also, some genes might be able to explain how it evolved from a wolf to a dog.
Maybe this genome resemblance between humans and dogs leads to the relationship that we have developed with them over time. In a way we might be able to relate to them and they become our companions as time passes by.
The author talks about how the dog has evolved and when did we start keeping them as pets. The myth says that humans found him to be a useful companion and dogs have been with us ever since, but how did we actually find the dog. Was it just wandering around somewhere and we took it in without finding out what it was?
The assumption that we have had has been proved wrong by evidence contradicting it. The scientists compared dogs to wolves by taking blood, tissue and hair samples. There is mitochondrial DNA in animals which helps them store food and use it when needed. This DNA comes from the mother, while normal DNA comes from both parents. This DNA can only change if there has been a mutation in the animal which can only happen at a rate on 1-2 per cent. The result of this showed us that the wolves and dogs had a difference of only one per cent. Thus we can say that the dog species emerged from the wolf species around 135,000 years ago.
A different type of specie must have interacted with the dog specie over a period of time and in direct influence to bring about the physical differences that we see today. Also, different breeds of dog have no correlation with the mitochondrial DNA that they carry.
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According to the data presented by the research, dogs have been being domesticated for the past 100,000 years. That means that most of the breeds must have interacted with each other missing most of the genes found in them. But then how do we know that the breeds of dog that are living today are pure breeds and have not been mixed with earlier and different breeds. Then one can easily say that no dog is actually a pure breed but just a variation of the older breeds.
Wayne the scientist mentioned in the article then says that the domestication of animals at that time was rare and it must have took place in dogs so that they would be protected from the wild wolfs. But when this interaction started, even man was not fully domesticated. Then how did dogs get along so well with humans and get them to play with it and not eat it? Our perception tells us that having a dog as a friend during childhood helps the child grow and become independent. Can we say that it all happened because of nature and this is how nature has evolved society? Does man then have any say in what is happening and is going to happen in society or will it just happen without man’s consent?
Dogs have been so able to exploit us and take advantage of our simple-ness. They have been their selves by being loyal and loving but it has been us who has thought more of it and called it love. Have dogs learnt how to be loyal or have human picked up loyalty and playfulness from dogs. We know that human adapt to the environment that they get, does that mean that we adapted to the features or behavior that we saw in dogs?
The protectiveness we see in dogs for us does not necessarily mean that they are protecting us. It could mean that they do not want to loose their protector. Also, we know that there is an animal instinct to protect the people around them who have fed them especially. The dog may then just be naturally reacting to that. Animals also protect their territory and whether it is another animal or human who treads on their territory will face the same consequences.
Thus, dogs are no hero when they save an animal or guard a house. They are doing what is in their instinct. When an object is thrown, their first reaction is to go after it. They are trained using that object. Scientists have found behavioral attributes in dogs which explain the way they behave the way they do.
Today we find many dogs that show aggression to one person in the household. This usually happens when the dog is male and young. The same way boys try to show their dominance when they are growing up, the same way male dogs try to make a position for themselves.
In the end, we can say that dogs behave the way they do because it is their instinct not because they love us or hate us. Thus, it is not their fault when they growl at somebody. Also, we should not read into the affection they show us.
Budiansky, S. (1999). The Truth About Dogs, The Atlantic Online, 2009. Web.
The Human Dog, Dog Breed Info Centre, 2009, Web.