UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
How was the first animal tamed?
Question Date: 2016-08-31
Answer 1:

Awesome question, great thinking!

Many believe the origins of domestication date back to between 15,000 - 20,000 years ago, when wolves were tamed by humans. At this time, two groups of hunters, wolves and humans, had developed the community social structure necessary to successfully attack larger and stronger animals such as bison. These communities were based around the family, and each was headed by a dominant male figure. Lower-down members within each community were friendly to each other, and all adult members watched over the newly-born to ensure the group’s survival.

However, humans and wolves were very suspicious of any outsiders. These similarities between human and wolf hunters allowed for wolf cubs to adapt well to a human group. Once domesticated, the wolves worked alongside the humans to hunt down big animals. The wolf provided the humans with new speed and intensity of attack, and the human provided the wolf with protection and even more food. This relationship, which was beneficial for both humans and wolves, was symbiotic.

So how were the first wolves tamed?

Some theorize that abandoned wolf cubs may have been picked up by human hunting groups, and raised among humans. Others believe that the trail of waste left behind by humans attracted wolves, and wolves who did not attack these humans were able to live off of the human’s leftover food peacefully. These wolves lost the need for sharp teeth and strong jaws, and began to evolve into what we today call dogs.

Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2020 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use