The co-evolution of humans and dogs has been much debated. Recent discoveries have pushed the origin of this relationship back further and further.
A new article by Pat Shipman in the American Scientist posits that changes to the structure of our eyes led to the powerful ability of dogs to follow the gaze of humans, thus establishing the basis of our unique intra-species communication. This is a fairly technical but fascinating read:
“We all know the adage that dogs are man’s best friend. And we’ve all heard heartwarming stories about dogs who save their owners—waking them during a fire or summoning help after an accident. Anyone who has ever loved a dog knows the amazing, almost inexpressible warmth of a dog’s companionship and devotion. But it just might be that dogs have done much, much more than that for humankind. They may have saved not only individuals but also our whole species, by “domesticating” us while we domesticated them.”