Ancient Wolves and the Evolution of Man
There are lots of controversial theories on wolf evolution. DNA of fossils can support the shreds of evidence, however tracing the exact bloodline of wolves have been a challenge over time.
In the Canidae family, wolves were the most abundant members recorded. What’s interesting to know is that early wolf species got traced from the dense desert to the expanse of the Arctic. The only exception where they didn’t thrive was in the desert and rainforests. They are highly adaptable animals.
One theory suggests that grey wolves in history were the most feared predators. Legends tell us about their cunning hunting and killing skills that made them mystical creatures in stories of old. Pushing theory aside, wolves evolved from an ancient animal called Mesocyon that existed about 35 million years ago.
In a nutshell, how do we describe a Mesocyon?
They looked like dogs with a long body like a coyote. They have bigger brains compared to either one. Their keen memory may have developed the close-knit family ties and pack mentality. They have also managed to master walking on four hind toes allowing them to chase prey more effectively.
Wolves Believed as Protector of Man
During the time of the Vikings, these warriors wore wolf skins and drank wolf blood before they go to battle. Why? These warriors once believed that wolves were their battle companions so when they drink the blood, they think that with them is the wolf’s spirit as they fight in battle.
So how did early man able to tame wolves in those times?
Wolves may have gotten closer to human settlements where they probably get a food source. Later on, they became acclimatized to being around humans. Wolves don’t attack humans unless provoked or mishandled. They were actually aloof so it takes a while to ease trust and comfort between wolves and man. Both species were able to adjust being with each kind in the same habitat. As generations passed, humans get to know more how useful it is to have wolves around.
Why do we need to understand wolf evolution’s relation to man?
Currently, there are around 50,000 wolves in Canada; 6,500 in Alaska; and 3,500 in the Lower 48 States. Italy has less than 300; Spain about 2,000; and Norway and Sweden combined have below 80. There are only about 700 wolves in Poland and 70,000 in Russia.
These numbers tell us that wolves are going to extinction if we don’t begin to care for their right to live and co-exist with humans. We hold the responsibility to make sure that there’s a hunting-free zone where they can roam free. Otherwise, the numbers we see here will continue to fall as months and years will pass. Soon enough, wolves will become stories of old for the next generation unless we help in keeping them alive. Let’s do our share and protect animal welfare.
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