A friend just sent me more evidence that we should be thanking wolves instead of hating them. I received a link to an article about Pat Shipman, a retired anthropologist from Pennsylvania State University, who theorizes that early humans domesticated wolves into wolf-dogs that helped with hunting. This wolf-human alliance gave our ancestors an advantage over Neanderthals, another predator and a competitive species. With help from wolves, early humans survived, Neanderthals did not.
Scientists estimate that modern humans evolved in Africa about 70,000 years ago. When our ancestors reached Europe about 45,000 years ago, they encountered the Neanderthals who dominated that continent. Within 5,000 years, Neanderthals had disappeared. Some scientists believe that climate change caused their demise. But Shipman's new book, "The Invaders: How Humans and Their Dogs Drove Neanderthals to Extinction" presents a ground-breaking alternative.
"At that time, modern humans, Neanderthals and wolves were all top predators and competed to kill mammoths and other huge herbivores," Shipman told Robin McKie, of The Guardian. "But then we formed an alliance with the wolf and that would have been the end for the Neanderthal."