A brief history of dogs – David Ian Howe

Since their emergence
over 200,000 years ago, modern humans have established
homes and communities all over the planet. But they didn’t do it alone. Whatever corner of the globe you find
homo sapiens in today, you’re likely to find another
species nearby: Canis lupus familiaris. Whether they’re herding, hunting,
sledding, or slouching the sheer variety of domestic
dogs is staggering. But what makes the story of man’s
best friend so surprising is that they all evolved from a creature often seen as one of our oldest rivals: Canis lupus, or the gray wolf. When our Paleolithic ancestors first
settled Eurasia roughly 100,000 years ago, wolves were one of their main rivals
at the top of the food chain. Able to exert over 300 lbs. of pressure
in one bone-crushing bite and sniff out prey more than a mile away, these formidable predators didn’t have
much competition. Much like human hunter-gatherers, they lived and hunted
in complex social groups consisting of a few nuclear families, and used their social skills to
cooperatively take down larger creatures. Using these group tactics, they operated as effective
persistence hunters, relying not on outrunning their prey, but pursuing it to the point
of exhaustion. But when pitted against the similar
strengths of their invasive new neighbors, wolves found themselves at a crossroads. For most packs, these bourgeoning bipeds represented
a serious threat to their territory. But for some wolves, especially those without a pack, human camps offered new opportunities. Wolves that showed less aggression
towards humans could come closer to their encampments, feeding on leftovers. And as these more docile scavengers
outlasted their aggressive brethren, their genetic traits were passed on, gradually breeding tamer wolves
in areas near human populations. Over time humans found a multitude of uses
for these docile wolves. They helped to track and hunt prey, and might have served as sentinels
to guard camps and warn of approaching enemies. Their similar social structure made
it easy to integrate with human families and learn to understand their commands. Eventually they moved from the fringes
of our communities into our homes, becoming humanity’s
first domesticated animal. The earliest of these Proto-Dogs
or Wolf-Dogs, seem to have appeared around
33,000 years ago, and would not have looked all that
different from their wild cousins. They were primarily distinguished
by their smaller size and a shorter snout full of
comparatively smaller teeth. But as human cultures and occupations
became more diverse and specialized, so did our friends. Short stocky dogs to herd livestock
by nipping their heels; elongated dogs to flush badgers
and foxes out of burrows; thin and sleek dogs for racing; and large, muscular dogs for guard duty. With the emergence of kennel clubs and
dog shows during England’s Victorian era, these dog types were standardized
into breeds, with many new ones bred
purely for appearance. Sadly, while all dog breeds are the
product of artificial selection, some are healthier than others. Many of these aesthetic characteristics
come with congenital health problems, such as difficulty breathing
or being prone to spinal injuries. Humanity’s longest experiment
in controlled evolution has had other side effects as well. Generations of selection for tameness have favored more juvenile
and submissive traits that were pleasing to humans. This phenomenon of selecting traits
associated with youth is known as neoteny, and can be seen in many domestic animals. Thousands of years of co-evolution
may even have bonded us chemically. Not only can canines understand
our emotions and body language, but when dogs and humans interact, both our bodies release oxytocin; a hormone commonly associated with
feelings of love and protectiveness. It might be difficult to fathom how every
Pomeranian, Chihuahua, and Poodle are descended from fierce wolves. But the diversity of breeds today
is the result of a relationship that precedes cities, agriculture, and even the disappearance
of our Neanderthal cousins. And it’s heartening to know that given enough time, even our most dangerous rivals
can become our fiercest friends.

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100 Responses

  1. moe gaffoor says:

    A lot of assumptions that are unsubstantiated by any evidence, ancient man would not have the time to domesticate wolves as they were to busy trying to survive. You can scavenge without becoming friends eg hyenas, vultures & lions. Early man would be inclined to kill wolves coming near there camps

  2. Jamie Johnson says:

    can we just talk about the art style please?

  3. dude says:

    Keith harring!! Love his art and this video

  4. mystery 478 says:

    Dog are amazing and we don't deserve them. Poor things are being bred and made into mutants

  5. Joshua Starkloff says:

    The first wolf to start leaching off of humans must of been like "All i have to do is help em hunt, and they will just throw food at me?!. This shit's lit"

  6. InsideOutStupid says:

    I'm happy to see this, but kinda sad because I often only like cute looking dogs ๐Ÿ™ I WONT ANYMORE!!!

  7. TUNGSTEN 0340 says:

    You can make a movie with that art style

  8. Krischeal Gomez says:

    "if humans evolved from monkeys why are there still monkeys?"

    If dogs evolved from wolves, why are there still wolves?

  9. Ricky Rebel says:

    Gray wolf : I can bite with 300 lbs of force !
    Dogs today : I chooke on strips of spaghett
    Gray wolf :* Shame *

  10. ChcknNggts says:

    (๏ฟฃโˆ  ๏ฟฃ )๏พ‰

  11. miiirtiii says:

    Ummmm okay no. Dogs didn't evolve from grey wolves. They had the same ancestor. Which wasn't really a wolf like we know today.

  12. xuan tran says:

    Omg you should do one on cats!

  13. Se Do says:

    Is there a video on domestic cats like this one? (No hate please just your fellow cat lady) ๐Ÿˆ. Love the animation btw!

  14. Marccernary says:

    No cats yes

  15. Marccernary says:

    I dont see the difference in dogs

  16. Maria Tretyakova says:

    Love dogs!

  17. Willieboip says:

    Iโ€™m obsessed with the cute tail wagging animations โค๏ธโค๏ธ

  18. Thai Hoang says:

    Keep your friends close. Keep your enemies closer! Is there one for cats? I'm a Leo so I prefer cats over dogs. ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. TSeries is better than OmNom says:

    Canis lupus familiaris: everyone loves me yay
    Normal canis lupus: I was always a normal and aggressive wolf, so they don't love me – I'm jealous.
    CLF: I'm ur cousin , cousins love their selves

  20. CONSUME PIG says:

    we won, is what I got out of this

  21. Amalia Elisabeth says:

    Cool of yโ€™all to use Keith haring inspired drawings

  22. Bryan W says:

    Or did wolves domesticate humans?

    My dog doesnโ€™t follow me around cleaning up my poop…

  23. Juicy Plushy says:

    China wants to know your location

  24. D V. says:

    OMG I have a wolf pack in my family!

  25. Zidonia says:

    So cute ๐Ÿ˜

  26. Nightmare says:

    Me: Watching Video
    Video: shows dog and man mixing
    Mfw TED-ed created a furry

  27. Ahilin Salazar says:

    This makes me want to go and adopt all the dogs at my local humane society, which isnt always humane.

  28. JNetwork32 says:

    The dog animation looks so cuteeeee ahah

  29. Pee Pee says:

    Me: ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. Bama Miner says:

    He protec he attack but most importantly they have genetic diseases caused by humans selective breeding ๐Ÿ™

  31. Marion [Deta expunged] says:

    this is the real life version of a redemeption arch

  32. Copper Pumpkin says:

    Who is the artist, the style looks familiar.

  33. Giovanni Ewing says:

    He protecc

    He attack…

    But most important

    He shite on mye rug!

  34. eeveegaming4798 says:

    How did chihuahuas come to be

  35. Vexenie says:

    This style is perfect for small fact shows on youtube.
    I just really like the style of dogs in this video, so simple.

  36. Vicki Simkovic says:

    No – wrong within the first 1 minute. Dogs DID NOT evolve from the grey wolf, the grey wolf and dogs are sister taxa. Modern wolves are not closely related to the wolves that were first domesticated. I thought TedEd was supposed to be reputable, check your facts, they are very readily available online, even Wikipedia does a better job.

  37. ้„ญyd says:

    cat is man's best friend, dog is man's favorite family member

  38. HiLoWme123 says:

    1000th comment

  39. Bobby the Wedge says:

    i liked how da big guy smiled when he got his ribbon

  40. OOF says:

    I love this Keith Haring animation style

  41. ( O_ใ€‰O)? says:

    Not all dogs are Good Bois.

    Some are Good Girls.

  42. Najat Bammou says:

    I hade 2 dog's i heve stil 1 this day. Thank you foor remembering me how speciale you're 4 legid frend is. ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿ•๐Ÿ•๐Ÿ•๐Ÿ•๐Ÿ•๐Ÿ•๐Ÿ•

  43. Shannon Rivero says:

    my mum made me watch this ๐Ÿ™

  44. anti bully says:

    the goodest of bois

  45. Cinnamon says:

    Every dog being such good bois but then there's a cute little spawn of satan called chihuahua.

  46. peracar says:

    wtf are you are you some type of dog gey person are you homosexyal wtf men

  47. ConcreteAngelx3 says:

    this doesn't make sense to me. I get that natural selection could have greywolves become more docile over time.. but I don't get how you could breed traits like short legs, for example. How can both a pug and a great dane come from the same Greywolf.

  48. Elon Musk says:

    Dogs: rivals to best friend

    Me: looks at the mosquito

  49. Bu Nee says:

    Where do they get all the genes for those various physical appearances such as fur length and color?

  50. Tennosoul 101 says:

    Our Best pals <3

  51. Justin Taylor says:

    too bad you didn't mention that your art style was inspired by Keith Haring.

  52. BrokenAm says:

    My dog evolved into a humpinator for pillows.

  53. JMS says:

    Wonderful animation.

  54. patarapol lumpachawa says:

    Wolf: Human, can I join your pac…I mean team? I left my old pack and I don't know what to do next.
    Human: Sure, help me hunt, guard my home and I'll feed you.
    Wolf: Thanks.
    wolf has evolved to good boi
    Thousands of years later….
    Good boi: Henlo hooman do u have any snaccs?

  55. A Pacing Goose says:


  56. Game Hack Trailer says:

    3:58 damn, i learned how first furries are born

  57. clever name says:

    I wish I could shoot down prey miles away with my nose.

  58. buriedxinblack says:

    Dog: Can I have some food?
    Human: No.
    Dog: I'll be your best friend.
    Human: ……Okay.

  59. Nicolas Laurin says:

    So did dogs and humans have something to do with the extinction of the nenderthals?

  60. Question says:

    Y E S

  61. Pony Empires Unite says:

    I want a dog wolf.

  62. jamjam monterey says:

    Dogs are the best

  63. Sarah Zhang says:

    awesome vid!

  64. goutham edara says:

    Very reason i dont have pets. We are encouraging these cross breeding and deteriorating dogs as a species.

  65. Ace walker Gamer 560 says:


  66. mikei86 says:

    so the real question is as dogs degerated to fit humans how much must we ourselves have become shadows of our ancestors. Are we like the Chihuahua is to a wolf now thanks to teknologi and civilisation ?

  67. Divyanshi Sharda says:

    95% of the comment's section: protecc atacc

  68. The BloopNet says:

    I love the Keith haring art style of this video

  69. CyberCy says:

    No, its "A brief history of doggos."

  70. Francis Lim says:

    I believe that early humans are territorial and guarded them fiercely,any wolves in their territories are always killed but with compassion towards babies wolves they are raised as pets and companions,pet wolves are useful deterrent towards wild wolves and are great hunters too.In Arctic regions,they are trained to pull sledges,hunt polar bears,deers and moose.

  71. Gary Thompson says:

    i'm glad i found this video

  72. eve Tor says:

    The animation looks like stuff by Keith Haring

  73. Bagus Rizky says:

    But what about cats?

  74. lovelyshine 2o2 says:

    I love the romantic music in the background

  75. KNK K'n'k says:

    This video made me happy

  76. Willy Good Good says:

    Great and informative video. I liked the space and animations as well.

  77. Manoj Kowshik says:

    Donโ€™t tell Snuffles

  78. Paul says:

    I am ashamed of what we've done to some of those poor dogs.

  79. M says:

    i miss my dog so much they really are better than so many people

  80. PUGS LEE says:

    IS THAT A PUG AT 3:27

  81. Crystal Tan says:

    the saddest thing is that in countries like peru, until they reach a certain size, they would be kicked out. i remember crying when i saw this big pack of dogs running around the sides of a highway

  82. My Gills says:


  83. Rakasiwiii fiddihaq says:

    And yet we messed them off to be like a mouse and it ruin some of their body

  84. I'm Nut says:

    3:59 No, I dont think furries are a good thing to have

  85. neal justus says:

    i can almost see it now:
    {thousands of years ago wile man was still in caves}
    great wolf: what dose that two legged thing give you that we do not, we have food, warmth, the ability to sense food from miles away, and the ability to bite them in half
    a hurt proto dog: he dose not judge me for my size, he has fire, cooked food, and something you will never have
    {proto dog stands over scared child protecting him from wolf}
    wolf: and what would that be {he growled}
    proto dog: {stands proud saying} he has my love and devotion
    wolf: {looks hurt and looks away} take the man pup, leave and never return
    proto dog: {takes man pup and walks away}
    wolf: we could have been something great the two smartest wolves ever alive you and i
    proto dog: {stops} that is the deference between you and i you could have had greatness wile i protect greatness
    proto dog leaves and goes back to man pack

  86. iPleatheTV says:

    I find the history so fascinating, especially since I love wolves and dogs. However, I have one question: were dogs the first domesticated animals or Goats? Because some sites said goats and some said dogs?

  87. LiberRaider says:

    Good dog!

  88. Aryan Hussain Khan says:

    1000 years ago: Good bois

    present day: Good bois

    1000 years after: Good bois

  89. sydnae stewart says:

    We love Keith Haring inspired art

  90. CyberCy says:

    This is impossible… How are dogs a great therapist?!

  91. Anas Ahamed R says:

    So, if we domesticate tigers, we'll have DIGERS in 10000AD?

  92. Raku Ichijo says:

    So could an elephant technically be domesticated over generations?

  93. Techno Master says:

    Good video and hilariously funny (e.g. a dog psycho analyzing a person).

  94. Mr Mister says:

    Itโ€™s crazy how we domesticated things like, wolves, foxes and coyotes into dogs almost unbelievable

  95. supersonic 370nd says:

    Are you saying that all this was thanks to a snack…

  96. Leslie Huang says:

    1:14 I understand why it was hard competing with wolves. Humans never had social skills in the first place.

  97. Faith Pia says:

    it's funny how the quote on the first part of the video disagrees with the rest of it

  98. seoulmew says:

    admit it, youre petting your dog watching this

  99. shigwooomy yes, shigwooomy says:

    A brief dogs of history

  100. Kid Peligro says:

    So basically dogs are the descendants of wolves thousands of years ago who were like:

    "Screw it, I ain't competing with these humans anymore. Besides being close pals with these hairless mammals has a lot of perks anyway"

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