Editer l'article Suivre ce blog Administration + Créer mon blog

Les chiens nous ont-ils aidés à battre les Néandertaliens ?

13 Avril 2013 , Rédigé par Claire Pavia Publié dans #Ca a du chien ! (divers sujets canins)

Humanity's Best Friend: How Dogs May Have Helped Humans Beat the Neanderthals



C'est juste trop intéressant, j'ai trouvé l'article ici: [clic]


Ce n'est vraiment pas dans mes habitudes de copier/coller les textes d'autres personnes, mais là je vais faire une exception. 


En gros, il y est dit ceci:


Il y a plus de 20'000 ans, l'Humain moderne a supplanté l'Homme de Neandertal, et le chien a peut-être joué un rôle dans ce succès.

Le déclin du Néandertalien au profit de l'Humain moderne reste à ce jour un mystère - que s'est-il passé ?

Est-ce à cause d'une modification climatique ? De la meilleure cohésion sociale de l'Humain moderne ? Une question de technologie, d'outils, de technique de chasse ?


Paul Mellars et Jennifer French ont proposé l'hypothèse que l'augmentation extrêmement rapide de la population d'Humains pourrait à elle seule expliquer la disparition de l'Homme de Néandertal.

Et l'anthropologiste Pat Shipman va plus loin: il suggère que c'est le chien qui a été l'élément "technologique" déterminant  qui a permis à l'Humanité moderne de s'épanouir.


Le fait que les chiens, comme les humains, ne figurent que rès rarement sur les peintures rupestres, suggère qu'ils n'étaient pas considérés comme du gibier, mais peut-être plus comme des compagnons de route.

Les chiens, par leur aide à la chasse et aussi comme bêtes de somme, ont permis aux humains de consacrer leur énergie à d'autres tâches importantes, comme la cueillette ou la reproduction.


Mais il y a une autre hypothèse, qui concerne le blanc très visible des yeux humains.

Cela représente un désavantage pour le chasseur, car il se fait repérer facilement par le gibier.

Par contre, le grand avantage est de faciliter une forme de communication silencieuse entre les chasseurs d'un groupe.


Des travaux ont montré que les chiens réussissent aussi bien que de jeunes enfants humains, à suivre le regard d'une personne qui parle sans bouger la tête.

Il est naturel pour nous d'avoir un contact visuel et de suivre le regard de notre interlocuteur, une faculté qui nous différencie des autres primates.


Selon Shipman, il n'est pas impossible que chiens et Humains aient développé cette aptitude ensemble.

Cette faculté aurait pu améliorer la communication Humain-Chien, facilitant ainsi la domestication.


En d'autres termes, le Chien aurait servi, comme une technologie, dans l'évolution de l'Humain.

Il y a peut-être du vrai dans le vieux dicton: "Nous façonnons nos outils,  et ensuite, nos outils nous façonnent".

 Et au fond, qui a domestiqué qui ?








May 14 2012, 3:11 PM ET 

Over 20,000 years ago, humans won the evolutionary battle against Neanderthals. They may have had some assistance in that from their best friends.

One of the most compelling -- and enduring -- mysteries in archaeology concerns the rise of early humans and the decline of Neanderthals. For about 250,000 years, Neanderthals lived and evolved, quite successfully, in the area that is now Europe. Somewhere between 45,000 and 35,000 years ago, early humans came along.

They proliferated in their new environment, their population increasing tenfold in the 10,000 years after they arrived; Neanderthals declined and finally died away.


What happened? What went so wrong for the Neanderthals -- and what went so right for us humans?

The cause, some theories go, may have been environmental, with Neanderthals' decline a byproduct of -- yikes -- climate change. It may have been social as humans developed the ability to cooperate and avail themselves of the evolutionary benefits of social cohesion. It may have been technological, with humans simply developing more advanced tools and hunting weapons that allowed them to snare food while their less-skilled counterparts starved away.


The Cambridge researchers Paul Mellars and Jennifer French have another theory, though. In a paper in the journal Science, they concluded that "numerical supremacy alone may have been a critical factor" in human dominance -- with humans simply crowding out the Neanderthals. Now, with an analysis in American Scientist, the anthropologist Pat Shipman is building on their work. After analyzing the Mellars and French paper and comparing it with the extant literature, anthropologist Pat Shipman

Yep. Man's best friend, Shipman suggests, might also be humanity's best friend. Dogs might have been the technology that allowed early humans to flourish.


Shipman analyzed the results of excavations of fossilized canid bones -- from Europe, during the time when humans and Neanderthals overlapped. Put together, they furnish some compelling evidence that early humans, first of all, engaged in ritualistic dog worship. Canid skeletons found at a 27,000-year-old site in Předmostí, of the Czech Republic, displayed the poses of early ritual burial. Drill marks in canid teeth found at the same site suggest that early humans used those teeth as jewelry -- and Paleolithic people, Shipman notes, rarely made adornments out of animals they simply used for food. There's also the more outlying fact that, like humans, dogs are rarely depicted in cave art -- a suggestion that cave painters might have regarded dogs not as the game animals they tended to depict, but as fellow-travelers.


Shipman speculates that the affinity between humans and dogs manifested itself mainly in the way that it would go on to do for many more thousands of years: in the hunt. Dogs would help humans to identify their prey; but they would also work, the theory goes, as beasts of burden -- playing the same role for early humans as they played for the Blackfeet and Hidatsa of the American West, who bred large, strong dogs specifically for hauling strapped-on packs. (Paleolithic dogs were big to begin with: They had, their skeletons suggest, a body mass of at least 70 pounds and a shoulder height of at least 2 feet -- which would make them, at minimum, the size of a modern-day German Shepherd.) Since transporting animal carcasses is an energy-intensive task, getting dogs to do that work would mean that humans could concentrate their energy on more productive endeavors: hunting, gathering, reproducing.

The possible result, Shipman argues, was a virtuous circle of cooperation -- one in which humans and their canine friends got stronger, together, over time.


There's another intriguing -- if conjecture-filled -- theory here, too. It could be, Shipman suggests, that dogs represented even more than companionate technologies to Paleolithic man. It could be that their cooperative proximity brought about its own effects on human evolution -- in the same way that the domestication of cattle led to humans developing the ability to digest milk. Shipman points to the "cooperative eye hypothesis," which builds on the observation that, compared to other primates, humans have highly visible sclerae (whites of the eyes). For purposes of lone hunting, sclerae represent a clear disadvantage: not only will your pesky eye-whites tend to stand out against a dark backdrop of a forest or rock, giving away your location, but they also reveal the direction of your gaze. It's hard to be a stealthy hunter when your eyes are constantly taking away your stealth.


Expressive eyes, however, for all their competitive disadvantage, have one big thing going for them: They're great at communicating. With early humans hunting in groups, "cooperative eyes" may have allowed them to "talk" with each other, silently and therefore effectively: windows to the soul that are also evolutionarily advantageous. And that, in turn, might have led to a more ingrained impulse toward cooperation. Human babies, studies have shown, will automatically follow a gaze once a connection is made. Eye contact is second nature to us; but it's a trait that makes us unique among our fellow primates.


Dogs, however, also recognize the power of the gaze. In a study conducted at Central European University, Shipman notes, "dogs performed as well as human infants at following the gaze of a speaker in tests in which the speaker's head is held still." Humans and their best friends share an affinity for eye contact -- and we are fairly unique in that affinity. There's a chance, Shipman says -- though there's much more work to be done before that chance can be converted even into a hypothesis -- that we evolved that affinity together.


"No genetic study has yet confirmed the prevalence or absence of white sclerae in Paleolithic modern humans or in Neanderthals," Shipman notes. "But if the white sclera mutation occurred more often among the former -- perhaps by chance -- this feature could have enhanced human-dog communication and promoted domestication."

Which is another way of saying that, to the extent dogs were an evolutionary technology, they may have been a technology that changed us for the better. The old truism -- we shape our tools, and afterward our tools shape us -- may be as old, and as true, as humanity itself.




Partager cet article
Pour être informé des derniers articles, inscrivez vous :
Commenter cet article
<br /> Très bonne question !<br /> <br /> <br /> Bonne semaine le soleil est enfin là !<br />