Category: Environment

Lessons

Nothing to do with dogs but everything to do with the future!

An item in The Conversation recently was not only interesting from a scientific point-of-view but also it had real lessons for the way that we humans are interfering with the planet.

As The Conversation introduced the article:

A mile below the surface of the Greenland ice sheet, an ancient Arctic ecosystem is preserved in the frozen soil. How scientists discovered its leaves, twigs and mosses is a story in itself. It starts with a secret military base built into the northern Greenland ice.

Scientists Andrew Christ and Paul Bierman describe the discovery as something of a Rosetta stone for understanding how well the ice sheet stood up to global warming in the past – and how it might respond in the future.

So, for a change, read something that has nothing to do with our furry friends.

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Ancient leaves preserved under a mile of Greenland’s ice – and lost in a freezer for years – hold lessons about climate change

Remnants of ancient Greenland tundra were preserved in soil beneath the ice sheet. Andrew Christ and Dorothy Peteet, CC BY-ND

Andrew Christ, University of Vermont and Paul Bierman, University of Vermont

In 1963, inside a covert U.S. military base in northern Greenland, a team of scientists began drilling down through the Greenland ice sheet. Piece by piece, they extracted an ice core 4 inches across and nearly a mile long. At the very end, they pulled up something else – 12 feet of frozen soil.

The ice told a story of Earth’s climate history. The frozen soil was examined, set aside and then forgotten.

Half a century later, scientists rediscovered that soil in a Danish freezer. It is now revealing its secrets.

Using lab techniques unimaginable in the 1960s when the core was drilled, we and an international team of fellow scientists were able to show that Greenland’s massive ice sheet had melted to the ground there within the past million years. Radiocarbon dating shows that it would have happened more than 50,000 years ago. It most likely happened during times when the climate was warm and sea level was high, possibly 400,000 years ago.

And there was more. As we explored the soil under a microscope, we were stunned to discover the remnants of a tundra ecosystem – twigs, leaves and moss. We were looking at northern Greenland as it existed the last time the region was ice-free. Our peer-reviewed study was published on March 15 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Two men with the ice core
Engineers pull up a section of the 4,560-foot-long ice core at Camp Century in the 1960s. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Paul Bierman, a geomorphologist and geochemist, describes what he and his colleagues found in the soil.

With no ice sheet, sunlight would have warmed the soil enough for tundra vegetation to cover the landscape. The oceans around the globe would have been more than 10 feet higher, and maybe even 20 feet. The land on which Boston, London and Shanghai sit today would have been under the ocean waves.

All of this happened before humans began warming the Earth’s climate. The atmosphere at that time contained far less carbon dioxide than it does today, and it wasn’t rising as quickly. The ice core and the soil below are something of a Rosetta Stone for understanding how durable the Greenland ice sheet has been during past warm periods – and how quickly it might melt again as the climate heats up.

Secret military bases and Danish freezers

The story of the ice core begins during the Cold War with a military mission dubbed Project Iceworm. Starting around 1959, the U.S. Army hauled hundreds of soldiers, heavy equipment and even a nuclear reactor across the ice sheet in northwest Greenland and dug a base of tunnels inside the ice. They called it Camp Century.

It was part of a secret plan to hide nuclear weapons from the Soviets. The public knew it as an Arctic research laboratory. Walter Cronkite even paid a visit and filed a report.

Workers cover a trench to build the under-ice military base
Workers build the snow tunnels at the Camp Century research base in 1960. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Camp Century didn’t last long. The snow and ice began slowly crushing the buildings inside the tunnels below, forcing the military to abandon it in 1966. During its short life, however, scientists were able to extract the ice core and begin analyzing Greenland’s climate history. As ice builds up year by year, it captures layers of volcanic ash and changes in precipitation over time, and it traps air bubbles that reveal the past composition of the atmosphere.

One of the original scientists, glaciologist Chester Langway, kept the core and soil samples frozen at the University at Buffalo for years, then he shipped them to a Danish archive in the 1990s, where the soil was soon forgotten.

A few years ago, our Danish colleagues found the soil samples in a box of glass cookie jars with faded labels: “Camp Century Sub-Ice.”

Scientists look at the sediment in jars
Geomorphologist Paul Bierman (right) and geochemist Joerg Schaefer of Columbia University examine the jars holding Camp Century sediment for the first time. They were in a Danish freezer set at -17 F. Paul Bierman, CC BY-ND

A surprise under the microscope

On a hot July day in 2019, two samples of soil arrived at our lab at the University of Vermont frozen solid. We began the painstaking process of splitting the precious few ounces of frozen mud and sand for different analyses.

First, we photographed the layering in the soil before it was lost forever. Then we chiseled off small bits to examine under the microscope. We melted the rest and saved the ancient water.

Then came the biggest surprise. While we were washing the soil, we spotted something floating in the rinse water. Paul grabbed a pipette and some filter paper, Drew grabbed tweezers and turned on the microscope. We were absolutely stunned as we looked down the eyepiece.

Staring back at us were leaves, twigs and mosses. This wasn’t just soil. This was an ancient ecosystem perfectly preserved in Greenland’s natural deep freeze.

One of the authors looking excited
Glacial geomorphologist Andrew Christ (right), with geology student Landon Williamson, holds up the first twig spotted as they washed a sediment sample from Camp Century. Paul Bierman, CC BY-ND

Dating million-year-old moss

How old were these plants?

Over the last million years, Earth’s climate was punctuated by relatively short warm periods, typically lasting about 10,000 years, called interglacials, when there was less ice at the poles and sea level was higher. The Greenland ice sheet survived through all of human history during the Holocene, the present interglacial period of the last 12,000 years, and most of the interglacials in the last million years.

But our research shows that at least one of these interglacial periods was warm enough for a long enough period of time to melt large portions of the Greenland ice sheet, allowing a tundra ecosystem to emerge in northwestern Greenland.

We used two techniques to determine the age of the soil and the plants. First, we used clean room chemistry and a particle accelerator to count atoms that form in rocks and sediment when exposed to natural radiation that bombards Earth. Then, a colleague used an ultra-sensitive method for measuring light emitted from grains of sand to determine the last time they were exposed to sunlight.

Maps of Greenland Ice Sheet speed and bedrock elevation
Maps of Greenland show the speed of the ice sheet as it flows (left) and the landscape hidden beneath it (right). BedMachine v3; Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), CC BY-ND

Chart of CO2 concentrations over time
The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere today is well beyond past levels determined from ice cores. On March 14, 2021, the CO2 level was about 417 ppm. NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, CC BY-ND

The million-year time frame is important. Previous work on another ice core, GISP2, extracted from central Greenland in the 1990s, showed that the ice had also been absent there within the last million years, perhaps about 400,000 years ago.

Lessons for a world facing rapid climate change

Losing the Greenland ice sheet would be catastrophic to humanity today. The melted ice would raise sea level by more than 20 feet. That would redraw coastlines worldwide.

About 40% of the global population lives within 60 miles of a coast, and 600 million people live within 30 feet of sea level. If warming continues, ice melt from Greenland and Antarctica will pour more water into the oceans. Communities will be forced to relocate, climate refugees will become more common, and costly infrastructure will be abandoned. Already, sea level rise has amplified flooding from coastal storms, causing hundreds of billions of dollars of damage every year.

A rock and tundra with a glacier in the background
Tundra near the Greenland ice sheet today. Is this what Camp Century looked like before the ice came back sometime in the last million years? Paul Bierman, CC BY-ND

The story of Camp Century spans two critical moments in modern history. An Arctic military base built in response to the existential threat of nuclear war inadvertently led us to discover another threat from ice cores – the threat of sea level rise from human-caused climate change. Now, its legacy is helping scientists understand how the Earth responds to a changing climate.

Andrew Christ, Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer in Geology, University of Vermont and Paul Bierman, Fellow of the Gund Institute for Environment, Professor of Geology and Natural Resources, University of Vermont

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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The article is republished with the full permission of The Conversation.

I hope you read it because the way the climate is changing is affecting all of us now and sooner rather than later we have all got to amend our ways. Indeed, when I look at anyone who has potentially thirty or more years of life in them I ponder what their future is going to be like. And, of course, it won’t be a drastic change in thirty years it is already happening now albeit at times difficult to see.

But there is not one scintilla of doubt that we humans are the cause and we humans have to be the solution!

Not just us humans who enjoy a pizza!

A rare sight!

Once again a recent post on The Dodo I felt was worthy of a share.

See what I felt when you read the following:

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Wild Coyote Discovers Her Favorite New Dinner

“It was nearly half a pizza.”

A man in California who took up wildlife photography a decade ago had never seen anything quite like what he saw this fall — and he was lucky he had his camera with him.

Every morning, Russell Greaves, of Huntington Beach, California, goes out to the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve behind his house to immerse himself in that slice of the natural world. He often sees coyotes, enough that he’s begun to recognize individuals in the area.

“A lot of people here just love the coyotes,” Greaves told The Dodo over the phone, during his morning walk on Tuesday.

Russell Greaves

One morning in October, he saw a familiar wild coyote. It was a mom who had given birth to a litter of pups six months before.

“She had had four pups,” Greaves said. “The pups would come out and play around, while dad went out to hunt. But they’re out on their own now.”

Russell Greaves

It was nice to see the mom again — but there was something different about her. And as she got closer, Greaves couldn’t help but laugh.

Russell Greaves

Somehow, the mother coyote had found a pizza — and she decided to go ahead and take it with her.

“It was nearly half a pizza,” Greaves said. It’s not certain where the coyote managed to find this enormous meal. Greaves said that there are some homeless people who camp out in the woods and perhaps she swiped it from them.

Since her pups had already gone out on their own, she probably wasn’t planning on sharing, Greaves speculated. “I thought, ‘This has got to be for herself.’”

Russell Greaves

More important than this meme-worthy sight is the balance the residents of the area have struck with the natural world — something sorely lacking in other communities across the country, where coyotes are often brutally hunted in killing contests.

Admittedly, not everyone loves the coyotes quite as much as Greaves does, but many people are fascinated by the wild family living nearby, and people take precautions to ensure a peaceful coexistence. “We tell people to not feed the coyotes. They’re not here to eat human food,” Greaves said. “We tell people who are walking their little dogs to be careful because the coyotes are around.”

Russell Greaves

“The coyotes come back to the same habitat because they like it here,” Greaves added.

And the coyotes are lucky to have people like Greaves, who love having them there.

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You can help people coexist with coyotes and other wildlife — to learn how, visit Project Coyote. You can also donate to the wildlife reserve.

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Just another wildlife story of endless fascination about the animal kingdom.

Ancient North American beginnings.

And early humans also came with their dogs!

Gary, aka Nimbushopper, sent me an item that appeared on Newsmax.

It was all about the early settlers. I very much would like to share it with you.

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Study: Dogs Came to N. America With Earliest Humans

Wednesday, 24 February 2021.

A Siberian husky enjoys the snow during a training session in Huy, eastern Germany, on February 11, 2021. – Musher Kerstin Galisch is a multiple participant of national and international competitions and takes care of a pack of fifteen Siberian Husky sled dogs, that live in and around a former and rebuilt feedlot premises administration building. (Photo by Ronny Hartmann / AFP) (Photo by RONNY HARTMANN/AFP via Getty Images)

Scientists said Wednesday they had discovered the oldest remains of a domestic dog in the Americas dating back more than 10,000 years, suggesting the animals accompanied the first waves of human settlers.

Humans are thought to have migrated to North America from Siberia over what is today the Bering Strait at the end of the last Ice Age — between 30,000 and 11,000 years ago.

The history of dogs has been intertwined with man since ancient times, and studying canine DNA can provide a good timeline for human settlement.

A new study led by the University at Buffalo analysed the mitochondrial DNA of a bone fragment found in Southeast Alaska.

The team initially thought the fragment belonged to a bear.

But closer examination revealed it to be part of a femur of a dog that lived in the region around 10,150 years ago, and that shared a genetic lineage with American dogs that lived before the arrival of European breeds.

“Because dogs are a proxy for human occupation, our data help provide not only a timing but also a location for the entry of dogs and people into the Americas,” said Charlotte Lindqvist, an evolutionary biologist from the University at Buffalo and the University of South Dakota.

She said the findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, supports the theory that humans arrived in North America from Siberia.

“Southeast Alaska might have served as an ice-free stopping point of sorts, and now — with our dog — we think that early human migration through the region might be much more important than some previously suspected,” said Lindqvist.

Older Migrations

A carbon isotope analysis of the bone fragment showed that the ancient Southeast Alaskan dog likely had a marine diet that consisted of fish and seal and whale scraps.

Lindqvist said dogs did not arrive in North America all at once. Some arrived later from East Asia with the Thule people, while Siberian huskies were imported to Alaska during the Gold Rush in the 19th century.

There is a long-standing contention about whether the first humans entered North America through a continental corridor that formed as the ice sheets receded, or along the North Pacific coast thousands of years earlier.

Previous age estimates of dog remains were younger than the fragment found by Lindqvist and the team, suggesting that dogs arrived in the continent during the later, continental migrations.

Lindqvist said her findings supported the theory that dogs in fact arrived in North America among the first waves of humans settlers.

“We also have evidence that the coastal edge of the ice sheet started melting at least around 17,000 years ago, whereas the inland corridor was not viable until around 13,000 years ago,” she told AFP.

“And genetic evidence that a coastal route for the first Americans over 16,000 years ago seems most likely. Our study supports that our coastal dog is a descendant of dogs that participated in this initial migration.”

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I have said it before and no doubt will say it again many times in the future: The bond that dogs have with us humans and, in return, the thanks and love that we have for our dogs goes back a very, very long time indeed.

This is just another article that confirms this.

Just want to repeat the amazing news that Charlotte Lindqvist reported:

But closer examination revealed it to be part of a femur of a dog that lived in the region around 10,150 years ago, and that shared a genetic lineage with American dogs that lived before the arrival of European breeds.

I do hope you read the full article as presented here.

Thank you, Gary!

Maybe there is a difference?

Between the genders!

I don’t think I had considered it before now, or rather at the end of January this year, that women across many cultures have an extra special relationship with dogs. It came from an article published in Treehugger on the 27th January and I hope it is alright to share it with you today.

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Why Women Have Had a Great Impact on Dog-Human Relationships

Dogs were more likely to be seen as a type of “person” when bonded with women.

By

Mary Jo DiLonardo

Throughout cultures, women often have closer relationships with dogs. GM Visuals / Getty Images

Sure, they’re called man’s best friend, but it’s women who likely had a bigger impact on the evolutionary relationship between dogs and their humans.

In a new analysis published in the Journal of Ethnobiology, researchers found that several factors probably played a part in creating the beneficial bonds between canines and people. One of those key factors, they found, is gender.

“Both men and women were important for the care and status of dogs across societies, but women had a stronger influence,” Robert Quinlan, Washington State University anthropology professor and corresponding author on the paper, tells Treehugger.

The researchers analyzed documents in the Human Relations Area Files, an anthropological database of collections covering cultural and social life. They sorted through thousands of mentions of dogs, ultimately finding data from 844 ethnographers (researchers who study human culture) writing in 144 societies.>They studied these cultures hoping to get insight into how the beneficial relationship between dogs and humans developed, the researchers said. They tracked traits associated with what they called dogs’ “personhood” across cultures.

“In some cultures, that idea is quite explicit: Dogs are defined as a type of ‘person,’ with human-like qualities. But it also can look like treating dogs in ‘person’-like ways — including giving dogs names, allowing to sleep in humans’ beds, viewing them as beings with souls, or burying and mourning them upon death,” Jaime Chambers, a WSU anthropology PhD student and first author on the paper, tells Treehugger.

They found accounts of the Toraja Indigenous People in Indonesia describing dogs as “equals,” the Sri Lankan Vedda referring to dogs as “four-footed persons,” and the Kapauku in Papua New Guinea calling dogs the only non-human animals with souls, Chambers says.

“We also tracked instances where ethnographers mentioned dogs having a special relationship to women, versus a relationship to men. When it came to dogs’ usefulness to humans, we didn’t detect either gender having more of an influence than the other,” Chambers says. “But in cultures where women and dogs shared a special bond, humans were more likely to be useful to dogs (providing things like affection, food, shelter, and healing) and to regard dogs as ‘person-like.’”

They found that in societies where men were observed interacting with dogs, the likelihood of dogs receiving care and other benefits from humans increased by 37%, and the likelihood that they were treated like people increased by 63%.

In contrast, in societies where dogs were observed interacting with women, the likelihood that they received care and other benefits from humans increased by 127%, and the likelihood that they were treated like people increased by 220%.

“The influence of men and women were additive so that in societies where dogs interacted with both men and women, their benefits and status were increased even more than in societies where dogs tended to interact with only men or only women,” Quinlan points out.

How Women Interact with Dogs

When sifting through the documents, researchers found examples of how women interacted differently with dogs than did men.

“We found women playing a notable role in welcoming dogs into the family sphere. Among the Munduruku from the Amazon and Tiwi from Australia, ethnographers describe women caring for dogs like their own children — literally allowing them to feed and sleep alongside their own human kids,” Chambers says.

“In some cultures, dogs serve as women’s companions in their daily work, such as Amazonian Tukano women who tend their gardens and hunt small game with their dog by their side. In Scandinavia, Saami women play a key role in controlling dogs’ breeding, keeping both male and female dogs and distributing the puppies to their human friends and relatives.”

But dogs aren’t revered everywhere.

“Among the Rwala Bedouin, there’s ambivalence around dogs — they’re seen as an unclean, polluting source, forbidden from eating from cooking vessels — yet they’re still valued as watchdogs and kept close to particular households via women (who sleep near them at night, and feed them via tossed scraps),” Chambers says.

Heat and Hunting

Gender isn’t the only thing that appears to have played a role in the coevolution of dogs and humans. Researchers also found that the warmer the climate, the less useful dogs were to people as hunting partners.

Humans evolved in tropical environments and are pretty good at keeping cool, Quinlan says. However, canine ancestors evolved in cold environments in northern latitudes.

“Dogs burn a lot of energy quickly when they are very active, like chasing prey and so forth, and that can make keeping cool a big problem. Anyone who has taken their dog for a run on a chilly day versus a hot day can easily see the difference,” Quinlan says.
“So, in hot environments dogs can overheat really quickly, making them less useful as hunting partners, herders, etc. ”There are some breeds in some hot environments that have better heat tolerance, yet those are the exceptions.”

Hunting also seemed to strengthen the ties between humans and dogs. In societies where people hunted with their dogs, the animals were more valued. That benefit appeared to decline when food production increased through agriculture or keeping livestock and dogs weren’t as necessary anymore.

Mutual Cooperation Theory

There have been many theories about how dog domestication happened. Some think that humans directly tamed the animals, while others think that people and dogs were mutually attracted to each other and discovered benefits from working together.

“We will never be able to precisely identify the chain of events and conditions leading to dog domestication, but shifting our emphasis like this allows us to rethink the relationship between humans and nature by moving away from a sense of complete human dominance to a kind of cooperation between humans and other beings where the other beings are on a more equal footing,” Quinlan says.

“A mutual cooperation scenario is probably more realistic, and it suggests that we all might benefit from thinking of humans as just one important player among many when we think about humans and the natural world. For us, this rethinking allowed us to approach dog-human relationships from multiple interrelated angles, and the insights we hoped to get from viewing the relationships from multiple angles was a big motivator for this research.”

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I don’t know about you but we found this a very interesting and fascinating theory.

I would love to say more but despite me being the publisher of this blog I am still an individual with lots to learn about dog domestication.

A Romanian sledride!

There’s no limit to the joy that we get from our dogs!

This article was recently seen on The Dodo and features a Romanian tale.

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Boy Takes His Dog Out For The Most Adorable Sled Ride

They’re best buddies ❤️️

By Lily Feinn   Published on 2/10/2021

The streets were empty during a recent snowstorm in Romania.

But, while most people were staying warm at home, one little boy and his dog decided to go for a “walk.”

FACEBOOK/ALIN SI GINA ABRUDAN

To make the most of the snow, 12-year-old Andrei attached a sled to his bicycle and his dog Pufi hopped on. True to Pufi’s name, the dog’s fluffy coat protects him from inclement weather, but the little pup seemed grateful to play with his human and not have to get his paws wet.

As Andrei started to cycle home, Pufi was a very good boy, balancing on the sled like a pro.

“Andrei and Pufi puppy conquered us hopelessly and reminded us of childhood when the simple things brought us the greatest joys: snow, a sled and a reliable friend next to you,” CERT Transilvania wrote on Facebook. “Today we also gave Andrei joy by giving him a brand-new bike, equipped with everything he needs for many years to come on the road to school or racing with Pufi.”

Now, Andrei and Pufi can safely sled and bike wherever they want together, through whatever weather comes their way.

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We just adore stories such as this one.

P.S. The above video doesn’t want to play!

More from the family.

And it involves dogs! Well in a roundabout way!

Back on Monday I spoke of Rik and his company Ahead4Heights.

Rik then sent me another piece of news about a film that he produced at short notice for Brixham Council.

Recent projects being a the Front page of the local rag, a roof inspection in Teignmouth for one of the largest local roofing contractors who is now on board and promising more work.

More interesting was a commission from Brixham Council for a short film showing the natural beauty of an area near Brixham in order to oppose a planning application for 400 houses. I received a call on that Friday telling me they needed the film for the public inquiry the following Tuesday! With only that Sunday looking good for flying I managed to fly, edit and upload the film later that evening so they had it for Monday morning, it was played at the hearing and has become a pivotal part of the evidence and was watched over 600 times over the following few days.

 

The land in question is dog walkers heaven and used by all the local residents.

Here is that front page of the Herald Express.

I regret that it is probably far too small a file to show the details. Never mind!

The Wapiti wolves

Stunning photographs.

I subscribe to Ugly Hedgehog, a forum about all things photographic.

It is a mine of information, people share incredible photographs, and much more.

On February 17th this year Photolady2014 published a set of photographs of wolves that were just gorgeous.

This is how she introduced the pictures:

So I am still on cloud 9 seeing wolfs rather close. They were about 150 feet away. Not the quality that the pros were getting who were there. I have seen their photos and well I still have a lot to learn. But, for someone who just started wildlife a couple of years ago, I will take these! If you do the download you will see they are not all bad. I have had to do some sharpening and noise reduction. The pros were all using the 600mm F4 with 2x extenders.
Me: Canon R5, 100-500 & 1.4 extender. All are at 700mm.

I asked if I could share them on Learning from Dogs and said Photolady2014 of South West Colorado said ‘Yes’.

Here they are:

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Photolady went on to report:

This is the Wapiti pack in Yellowstone.

We sat in below 0 weather for about 4 hours watching them and the coyotes who were patiently waiting their turn to eat!

Fabulous pictures and one can’t help thinking that some 23,000 years ago there started the long journey of domestication, and the bonding between humans and wolves brought about the dog.

It doesn’t get any better than that!

Communicating dogs!

Not just for kids!

The Conversation blog recently had a question in the Curious Kids section:

Curious Kids is a series for children of all ages. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, send it to CuriousKidsUS@theconversation.com.

But to be honest the answer is just as interesting for those a tad older than a kid!

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When dogs bark, are they using words to communicate?

By
Professor of Psychology, Arizona State University
February 8th, 2021


When dogs bark, do they have words? – Sarah W., age 9, Clinton, New York


Does your dog bark a lot? Or is he one of those quiet pooches who barks only when things get really exciting? Most dogs bark at least a little.

Dog barks are not words. But although your dog will never tell you about his parents or the weather or the amazing bone he had yesterday, his barks still communicate important information.

Dog barks are much closer to the noises people make when they accidentally hit their thumb with a hammer – “Ow!” – or open a fantastic present – “Wow!” These sounds convey how someone feels, but not why they feel that way. When other people hear these kinds of sounds, they often come over to see what has happened: How did you hurt yourself? What is this wonderful gift you received?

All dogs, even the tiniest chihuahua, are descended from great grey wolves. Wolves almost never bark. They howl. Sometimes dogs howl too – but howling is rarer in dogs. Understanding why wolves howl and dogs bark helps explain what barking is for.

United in sound. Fotosearch via Getty Images

A howl can be a beautiful sound – almost like a kind of music. And, just as group singing brings people together, so too does group howling help a pack of wolves feel united.

Dog barking also brings groups together – but it’s not a beautiful sound. It is a much more urgent noise, just like the sounds you make when you are hurt or very pleased. Many smaller animals, like scrub jays, meerkats and California ground squirrels, make such noisy sounds. They do this when they feel frightened by something. In dogs, barking can bring a group together to defend against a danger that can’t be coped with alone.

Wolves don’t need to make sounds like this because they are big and fearsome and don’t often feel threatened. Dogs, on the other hand, are much smaller and weaker than their wolf ancestors – and often need to call the group together.

A call for assistance. Seregraff/iStock/Getty Images Plus

This is why dogs bark. They are calling their group to get help with something they are not confident they can handle on their own. This doesn’t mean a barking dog is always frightened. He may just be very excited. He badly needs the family to know that there is a stranger coming to the door, or another dog coming close to the house.

Your dog’s barks may not be words, but he probably barks a little differently depending on what kind of thing has got him excited. If you listen closely, you may find you can tell the difference between a bark directed at a package deliverer and one directed toward a friend at the door. The bark to a passing dog may be different than the bark at a passing car.

Your dog doesn’t understand much of what you say, but he listens hard to try to make sense of human language. If you return the compliment and listen hard to his sounds, you may find you can also understand him better, and the two of you will have a richer life together.

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This touches on something that I saw elsewhere; the business of dogs having emotions (which they really do!).

I will try and find the article and see if I have permission to republish it.

Until then, keep safe all of you!

 

Ancient DNA

Ancient DNA shows that dogs probably came from Siberia.

There has been much discussion recently that Siberia may have been the site of dog domestication. In that a research team examining the origins of the domestic dog via the genetic past found that all American dogs carried a genetic signature.

This signature, dubbed A2b, in dogs descended from a canine ancestor that lived in Siberia some 23,000 years ago. An article in the January 2021 issue of Science went on to say:

That ancestral dog probably lived with people who belonged to a genetic grouping known as the ancient north Siberians, the team speculates. The group, which appeared more than 31,000 years ago, lived in a relatively temperate part of northeastern Siberia for thousands of years, and they shared this refuge with the gray wolf, the direct ancestor of today’s dogs.

The assumption being that this group of people brought the dogs with them when, about 15,000 years ago, they splintered into four groups as they spread around North America and Europe.

Dingo relative discovered in remote highlands of New Guinea. From abc.net.au

I wish I could say more but all the texts and pictures that I have come across have all been protected by copywrite.