New hypothesis for human evolution and human nature

Jul 20, 2010
These carvings are from ivory and have been dated to between 30,000-36,000 years old, making them the oldest artworks in Europe. Credit: Photo by H. Jensen. Copyright: University of Tubingen.

It's no secret to any dog-lover or cat-lover that humans have a special connection with animals. But in a new journal article and forthcoming book, paleoanthropologist Pat Shipman of Penn State University argues that this human-animal connection goes well beyond simple affection. Shipman proposes that the interdependency of ancestral humans with other animal species -- "the animal connection" -- played a crucial and beneficial role in human evolution over the last 2.6 million years.

"Establishing an intimate connection to other animals is unique and universal to our species," said Shipman, a professor of biological anthropology. Her paper describing the new hypothesis for based on the tendency to nurture members of other species will be published in the August 2010 issue of the journal .

In addition to describing her theory in the scientific paper, Shipman has authored a book for the general public, now in press with W. W. Norton, titled The Animal Connection. "No other mammal routinely adopts other species in the wild -- no gazelles take in baby cheetahs, no mountain lions raise baby deer," Shipman said. "Every mouthful you feed to another species is one that your own children do not eat. On the face of it, caring for another species is maladaptive, so why do we humans do this?"

Shipman suggests that the animal connection was prompted by the invention of 2.6-million years ago. "Having sharp tools transformed wimpy human ancestors into effective predators who left many cut marks on the of their prey," Shipman said. Becoming a predator also put our ancestors into direct competition with other carnivores for carcasses and prey. As Shipman explains, the who learned to observe and understand the behavior of potential prey obtained more meat. "Those who also focused on the behavior of potential competitors reaped a double for natural selection," she said.

Over time, Shipman explains, the volume of information about animals increased, the evolutionary benefits of communicating this knowledge to others increased, and language evolved as an external means of handling and communicating information through symbols. "Though we cannot discover the earliest use of language itself, we can learn something from the earliest prehistoric art with unambiguous content. Nearly all of these artworks depict animals. Other potentially vital topics - edible plants, water, tools or weapons, or relationships among humans -- are rarely if ever shown," Shipman said. She sees this disproportion as evidence that the evolutionary pressure to develop an external means of storing and transmitting information -- symbolic language -- came primarily from the animal connection.

Shipman concludes that detailed information about animals became so advantageous that our ancestors began to nurture wild animals -- a practice that led to the domestication of the dog about 32,000 years ago. She argues that, if ensuring a steady supply of meat was the point of domesticating animals, as traditionally has been assumed, then dogs would be a very poor choice as an early domesticated species. "Why would you take a ferocious animal like a wolf, bring it into your family and home, and think this was advantageous?" Shipman asks. "Wolves eat so much meat themselves that raising them for food would be a losing proposition."

Domestic animals, like this water buffalo in Viet Nam, live intimately with humans and provide renewable resources to humans that communicate well with them. Credit: Photo by Greg Luna.

Shipman suggests, instead, that the primary impetus for domestication was to transform animals we had been observing intently for millennia into living tools during their peak years, then only later using their meat as food. "As living tools, different domestic animals offer immense renewable resources for tasks such as tracking game, destroying rodents, protecting kin and goods, providing wool for warmth, moving humans and goods over long distances, and providing milk to human infants" she said.

Domestication, she explained, is a process that takes generations and puts selective pressure on abilities to observe, empathize, and communicate across species barriers. Once accomplished, the domestication of animals offers numerous advantages to those with these attributes. "The animal connection is an ancient and fundamentally human characteristic that has brought our lineage huge benefits over time," Shipman said. "Our connection with animals has been intimately involved with the evolution of two key human attributes -- tool making and language -- and with constructing the powerful ecological niche now held by modern humans."

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Donutz
2.9 / 5 (11) Jul 20, 2010
"Wolves eat so much meat themselves that raising them for food would be a losing proposition."


WTF? Who in their right mind ever proposed that wolves were a food animal? For starters, carnivore meat tastes rank, and secondly the internal organs are toxic. You raise dogs as UTILITY animals, cats as status symbols, and beefalo as food.

This looks like a case of someone manufacturing a problem in order to save the day with their shiny new theory.

FredJose
1.2 / 5 (23) Jul 20, 2010
and language evolved as an external means of handling and communicating information through symbols. "Though we cannot discover the earliest use of language itself, we can learn something from the earliest prehistoric art with unambiguous content

Just my twopence - i'm definitely no expert here - for any human development, language has to be present from the outset - it's well-nigh impossible to create a verbal [or even non-verbal] language from scratch unless one already has some communication ability built in.
Language did not evolve [from scratch] - God provided human beings with a means to communicate with HIM from the beginning.
Furthermore He created wild animals as well as more domesticated versions[or species capable of becoming domesticated] just so that man could have companionship with them. All this goobly-gook about predators and living in the wild chasing after food is a rather pedantic explanation for why humans like pets.

ShadowRam
Jul 20, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Djincs
4.5 / 5 (11) Jul 20, 2010
"Every mouthful you feed to another species is one that your own children do not eat. On the face of it, caring for another species is maladaptive, so why do we humans do this?"
I dont think that cows or horses or dogs were eating the food of the children, i cant see where the maladaptive part is,and the benefits are great...
Djincs
3.7 / 5 (6) Jul 20, 2010

Just my twopence - i'm definitely no expert here - for any human development, language has to be present from the outset - it's well-nigh impossible to create a verbal [or even non-verbal] language from scratch unless one already has some communication ability built in.
Language did not evolve [from scratch] - God provided human beings with a means to communicate with HIM from the beginning.
Furthermore He created wild animals as well as more domesticated versions[or species capable of becoming domesticated] just so that man could have companionship with them. All this goobly-gook about predators and living in the wild chasing after food is a rather pedantic explanation for why humans like pets.


Your statement is suck a crap that i dont know where to start of....but to think that god has created all the god breeds for example or the other breeds of domesticated animals is the funiest part!
FredJose
2.4 / 5 (5) Jul 20, 2010
Your statement is suck a crap that i dont know where to start of....but to think that god has created all the god breeds for example or the other breeds of domesticated animals is the funiest part!

At least you're having fun!
jwalkeriii
5 / 5 (1) Jul 20, 2010
Sure is a lot of supposition for an object simply carved out of boredom or more likely as a gift from a geeky caveman to attract an equally geeky cavewoman. Hey maybe I can make a living writing long jokes like the one above too.

Two cavemen walked into a bar...
Mandan
5 / 5 (2) Jul 20, 2010
Sorry lady, no cigar. This is why living in isolated closets in University office buildings and calling yourself a scientist is killing science:

http://www.youtub...bCNvAihU
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (8) Jul 20, 2010
WTF? Who in their right mind ever proposed that wolves were a food animal?
The majority of Asia. Dog is often eaten in the Eastern world. It can be rather tasty as well.
Just my twopence - i'm definitely no expert here - for any human development, language has to be present from the outset - it's well-nigh impossible to create a verbal [or even non-verbal] language from scratch unless one already has some communication ability built in.
Almost every child ever born refutes that.
Ulg
5 / 5 (5) Jul 21, 2010
"Establishing an intimate connection to other animals is unique and universal to our species,"

I am not sure either it is unique or universal to our species.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (1) Jul 21, 2010
"Establishing an intimate connection to other animals is unique and universal to our species,"

I am not sure either it is unique or universal to our species.
It is as easy as saying, "it takes two to tango."

If we're establishing an "intimate relationship" to another animal, would it not logically require that animal to be establishing an "intimate relationship" with us? As we all know, a one way street is not a relationship, and it certainly is not intimate.
JJC
4.8 / 5 (5) Jul 21, 2010
I thought the domestication of dogs was due to their hanging around early human camps in order to eat the scraps of food we left.

The least vicious and least alpha wolves did this rather than suffer as the lowest member of their pack. So they benefited from an easy food source, while humans benefited from the protection the wolves provided (by hanging around at the outskirts of camps and fighting/growling at intruders).

Obviously humans favored the least mean, most likely to bark, and most loyal/juvenile individuals. They drove away the others and kept the ones they liked, thus beginning the process of artificial selection.
GSwift7
4.5 / 5 (4) Jul 21, 2010
The connection between the developement of communication and domestication of animals seems obvious, but a cause-effect relationship is very thin. I think she needs to consider a religious motivation for the early artwork. There is a very strong tendency for religions to include animals in thier beliefs. Egyptian gods with animal heads, Aztec use of crocodiles and leopards, Hindu elephants, Japanese Cranes, etc. Keeping a wolf would probably have been a powerful symbol in a European tribe. Many rulers throughout history have kept exotic pets.

The sun is also frequently found in ancient artwork. Surely she isn't suggesting that ancient tribes who studied the sun had an evolutionary advantage. I think she has it backwards. The successful tribes probably had more free time and were therefore more likely do odd things like keep pets and start religions. Once survival stopped being a full time job, people just had too much free time. Idle hands and all that.
Skeptic_Heretic
4.5 / 5 (2) Jul 21, 2010
Surely she isn't suggesting that ancient tribes who studied the sun had an evolutionary advantage. I think she has it backwards. The successful tribes probably had more free time and were therefore more likely do odd things like keep pets and start religions. Once survival stopped being a full time job, people just had too much free time. Idle hands and all that.

I think she is insinuating that and missing the important information to be gained through the examination of the artwork.

Evidence of artwork doesn't show an abundance of free time, it shows an interest in observation and record of the natural world. If you look at human civilization on the whole, the strongest and most capable civilizations have always been the ones with more applied knowledge of natural phenomina.
ArcainOne
5 / 5 (1) Jul 21, 2010

If we're establishing an "intimate relationship" to another animal, would it not logically require that animal to be establishing an "intimate relationship" with us? As we all know, a one way street is not a relationship, and it certainly is not intimate.


I think a better way to put it would be that no other animal actively seeks out a relationship with another species except humans. There are many instances where we have facilitated relationships with ourselves and other animals as well as other animals to other animals (such as a chimp and a kitten). Which to me seems to indicate the capacity for animals to form these relationships like humans but in the wild due to pressure to survive would most likely not occure often enough to form the kind of species wide relationships similar to humans and dogs.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (5) Jul 21, 2010
I think a better way to put it would be that no other animal actively seeks out a relationship with another species except humans.
And when you make that refinement you certify that the statement is false.

Even simple ants domesticate and relate to aphids much as man relates and domesticates dairy cows. There are a multitude of symbiotic domestication type relationships in just about every environment you can find. We are once again, not unique.
frajo
5 / 5 (4) Jul 21, 2010
"Establishing an intimate connection to other animals is unique and universal to our species,"

I am not sure either it is unique or universal to our species.
Some ants have quite an intimate relationship to aphids, even carrying them around while migrating.
Donutz
5 / 5 (5) Jul 21, 2010

Two cavemen walked into a bar...


One says to the cave-tender "Do you serve creationists?". Cave-tender says "Sure!". Caveman says "Fine. Serve them to the wolves!".
Donutz
2 / 5 (4) Jul 21, 2010
The majority of Asia. Dog is often eaten in the Eastern world. It can be rather tasty as well.


Fair enough, but dog is not wolf, and asians aren't cavemen. Are the dogs meat-eaters or omnivores? (my dog will eat anything including furniture) Are they big and mean or small and timid? Etc etc. I'm not saying it's impossible, just for a caveman there are simpler ways of committing suicide than trying to herd wolves.
ArcainOne
not rated yet Jul 21, 2010
And when you make that refinement you certify that the statement is false.

Even simple ants domesticate and relate to aphids much as man relates and domesticates dairy cows. There are a multitude of symbiotic domestication type relationships in just about every environment you can find. We are once again, not unique.


Yes there are many instances where one animal has cultivated its own renewable food for the betterment of its own survival, but do you really know how the ant 'feels' about its aphid cow?
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Jul 21, 2010
Yes there are many instances where one animal has cultivated its own renewable food for the betterment of its own survival, but do you really know how the ant 'feels' about its aphid cow?
Do you really know that you have a relationship with your dog and it isn't just trading feelings for food?
Fair enough, but dog is not wolf, and asians aren't cavemen. Are the dogs meat-eaters or omnivores? (my dog will eat anything including furniture) Are they big and mean or small and timid? Etc etc. I'm not saying it's impossible, just for a caveman there are simpler ways of committing suicide than trying to herd wolves.
The domestication of dogs originated in Asia and the record of dogs being used as food animals goes back to the beginning of recorded history in Asia. From what I've seen and dined upon they eat everything from little dogs to big mean ones. Animals are food over there, no exceptions.
ArcainOne
not rated yet Jul 21, 2010
Do you really know that you have a relationship with your dog and it isn't just trading feelings for food?


No but that is the very nature of any 'intimate' relationship. How do you know that "trading feelings for food" isn't the dogs way of saying "I love you". I could easily argue that 'love' is no different than reciprocal acts of trading one thing for another with a kick of endorphins. I know hunting dogs that often go out and bring their owners 'gifts' such as a dead bird, same goes for cats who bring back small rodents, plopping these gifts at their owners feet. I cannot say for sure how much my pet 'loves' me but there is defiantly instances of a two way street for cats and dogs for humans.
ArcainOne
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 21, 2010
The overall Point is humans actively seek out intimate relationships with other species. Other animals may have relationships with other species but they aren't necessarily intimate, they are often for food, which makes humans unique in this respect.
Skeptic_Heretic
1 / 5 (3) Jul 21, 2010
The overall Point is humans actively seek out intimate relationships with other species. Other animals may have relationships with other species but they aren't necessarily intimate, they are often for food, which makes humans unique in this respect.
And the overall point as you've stated it is incorrect.
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Jul 21, 2010
Arcain, let me try to show you the error you're making.
Some ants have quite an intimate relationship to aphids, even carrying them around while migrating.
but do you really know how the ant 'feels' about its aphid cow?
Do you really know that you have a relationship with your dog and it isn't just trading feelings for food?
No but that is the very nature of any 'intimate' relationship. How do you know that "trading feelings for food" isn't the dogs way of saying "I love you".

Does that make your error clear? You're using subjective conditionals.
JRDarby
not rated yet Jul 21, 2010
The connection between the developement of communication and domestication of animals seems obvious, but a cause-effect relationship is very thin. I think she needs to consider a religious motivation for the early artwork.


You make an excellent point. One idea related to this is that the animals included in the cave art were often drawn or painted very deep into the cave at points where there would be little or no light. At the very least, it would be very hard to show from this that the drawings were related to teaching about the animals as the author posits.
ArcainOne
not rated yet Jul 21, 2010
When speaking about intimate relationships not all things are so simple as hard facts. I know two things that are fact. The first is, domestication and symbiotic relationships exist in nature. Now as far as an 'intimate' emotional relationship to another creature outside its own species (other than humans) I have yet to see, but do not get me wrong I do not dismiss the possibility.

The second is, humans love animals. I know humans love animals, because I have animals. I have also seen the crazy things people do because they "Love their little fluffy" I have also known people who use their animals as simple extensions of their tool set with nearly no emotional investment into them. Unfortunately here subjective observation is all we have. This isn't like calculating the mass of a proton or measuring the growth of bacteria. We are dealing with the effects of "Intimate relationships" which obviously has different meanings to different people.
Skeptic_Heretic
2.5 / 5 (2) Jul 21, 2010
The second is, humans love animals. I know humans love animals, because I have animals. I have also seen the crazy things people do because they "Love their little fluffy" I have also known people who use their animals as simple extensions of their tool set with nearly no emotional investment into them. Unfortunately here subjective observation is all we have. This isn't like calculating the mass of a proton or measuring the growth of bacteria. We are dealing with the effects of "Intimate relationships" which obviously has different meanings to different people.
Yes but your error is far more simple than that. You're drawing an arbitrary dividing line between humans and every other animal on the planet. What makes us so special that we have some sort of dominion over cross species affection? Nothing, and you further evidence that by your statement that dogs take an interest in us as much as we do them.
GSwift7
4 / 5 (1) Jul 21, 2010
Yeah, I think I'll pass on her book.

The close proximity of people and wolves would have been a given, since both would have followed the herds of game. Wolves also have curiosity around humans. They probably crossed paths frequently.

In regard to animals being the key to communication and that giving an evolutionary advantage, I don't buy it. If you look at modern day people who have a spoken language but do not have a written language, her idea doesn't quite fit. At least not in regard to the art. The art of those modern people, such as Eskimo, is mostly animals, but it's not about communicating knowledge about those animals. It always seems to be spiritual in nature, like totem poles. It would seem that spoken language precedes art, and I would suspect that spoken language came long before animal husbandry. Spoken language may even go back to before tool making.
Donutz
3 / 5 (2) Jul 21, 2010
Now as far as an 'intimate' emotional relationship to another creature outside its own species (other than humans) I have yet to see, but do not get me wrong I do not dismiss the possibility.

The second is, humans love animals.


Answers in reverse order: Yes, humans love animals, but that proves nothing except that humans are capable of love, and humans have the luxury of being able to keep pets. My mother-in-law grew up on a farm in Eire and in those days animals were useful or else. Too many kittens go in the bag and in the river. Pets are, like a lot of things that we take for granted these days, something that we do because we have excess time and excess capital.

And I've seen animals bond with other animals of different species. You can argue that it just "looks" like love, but that's a cop-out. If you can't prove either way, then observations rule.
ArcainOne
5 / 5 (1) Jul 21, 2010
Yes but your error is far more simple than that. You're drawing an arbitrary dividing line between humans and every other animal on the planet. What makes us so special that we have some sort of dominion over cross species affection? Nothing, and you further evidence that by your statement that dogs take an interest in us as much as we do them.


Then I must apologize I was not intending to draw such a line and most likely got caught up in the moment. In my first post I state that.

Which to me seems to indicate the capacity for animals to form these relationships like humans but in the wild due to pressure to survive would most likely not occur often enough to form the kind of species wide relationships similar to humans and dogs.


mostly referring to a cross species emotional relationship carried on generation after generation. Although I'd honestly be very interested to see otherwise.
Skeptic_Heretic
3 / 5 (2) Jul 21, 2010
Then I must apologize I was not intending to draw such a line and most likely got caught up in the moment. In my first post I state that.
No need to apologize whatsoever. Everyone makes mistakes and typically one cannot realize their own mistake, especially when it's such a big one.

If anythign the larger the mistake the less often we can see it as such.
otto1923
not rated yet Jul 21, 2010
Now as far as an 'intimate' emotional relationship to another creature outside its own species (other than humans) I have yet to see, but do not get me wrong I do not dismiss the possibility.
Koko the gorilla and her pet kitten. This does not say it happens in the wild, but suggests it is possible.
My mother-in-law grew up on a farm in Eire and in those days animals were useful or else.
Yah, I often wonder if modern pets arent in part a neurotic substitute for the human companionship and endless child rearing we used to enjoy in large families and tribes. Maybe koko is just neurotic.
Caliban
3 / 5 (2) Jul 21, 2010
IMO,
This strategy of "domesticating" is an example of human opportunism. Our relationships with other species run the gamut, and while some relationships are traditionally for the purpose of providing food, transportation or work, they are occasionally transformed into that of master/pet. Yet the overarching scenario is one of utility.

Her assertion that our relationship with animals gave rise to language is bunk; our relationship with our environment -and the need for coordinated effort- gave rise to language.

The fact that cave paintings and carved representations are almost entirely of animals is more likely due to the division of labor, and to the relative danger of the hunting enterprise, and the need for a little extra mojo to accomplish it safely. Animal protein represents quite an advance in nutritional terms over a purely vegetable diet, and was pursued out of necessity, and that is another reason for domestication -familiarity, as well as a backup food source.
jwalkeriii
1 / 5 (2) Jul 22, 2010

Seems more likely that woman sitting in the cave while their men are out in the field (men- trying to keep away from the constant annoying nagging of the women to get more food...) are simply passing the time by carving objects they see all the time in the World outside their community-- and sometimes profiting from their carvings by trading them for other stuff.

People today are no different than people 40,000 years ago. Put yourself in that cave -- bored out of your gourd, after making yet another clay pot, gourd, or gathering yet another handful of nuts to pound out on the rock..

You folks have way to much free time guessing at why people carved objects if you ask me...
otto1923
5 / 5 (2) Jul 22, 2010
You folks have way to much free time guessing at why people carved objects if you ask me...
Uh, you too. Why dont you go carve something?
trekgeek1
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 24, 2010

Just my twopence - i'm definitely no expert here - for any human development, language has to be present from the outset - it's well-nigh impossible to create a verbal [or even non-verbal] language from scratch unless one already has some communication ability built in.
Language did not evolve [from scratch] - God provided human beings with a means to communicate with HIM from the beginning.
Furthermore He created wild animals as well as more domesticated versions[or species capable of becoming domesticated] just so that man could have companionship with them. All this goobly-gook about predators and living in the wild chasing after food is a rather pedantic explanation for why humans like pets.



That's stupid. Stop posting. Yeah, your god blessed us all with language and then because we attempted to build a tower, confused us by changing our language. Do you actually read fairy tales to your children? Or just the bible? Can they tell the difference?
marjon
not rated yet Jul 24, 2010
"Establishing an intimate connection to other animals is unique and universal to our species,"

I am not sure either it is unique or universal to our species.

There certain fish that clean the mouths of bigger fish, without getting eaten.
Ants raise other insects to produce food.
I think there are a few other examples.
zslewis91
5 / 5 (2) Jul 24, 2010
"Wolves eat so much meat themselves that raising them for food would be a losing proposition."


WTF? Who in their right mind ever proposed that wolves were a food animal? For starters, carnivore meat tastes rank, and secondly the internal organs are toxic. You raise dogs as UTILITY animals, cats as status symbols, and beefalo as food.

This looks like a case of someone manufacturing a problem in order to save the day with their shiny new theory.



once agian, and this is all i ever say. you speak as though you are an expert. stop statin' such as fact when fact to none. read a book.
frajo
5 / 5 (1) Jul 25, 2010
WTF? Who in their right mind ever proposed that wolves were a food animal?
The majority of Asia. Dog is often eaten in the Eastern world.
More often than in the West, yes. But not often.
Some detailed info is on the "dog meat" wiki page.
Btw. cow meat is often eaten in the Western World.
vyn
5 / 5 (2) Jul 26, 2010
Domestication doesnt have to take long, Belyaev basically domesticated the fox in 50 years. See http://en.wikiped...lver_fox
CHollman82
4.2 / 5 (5) Jul 26, 2010
I'm definitely no expert here - for any human development, language has to be present from the outset.


Sure, but I don't think "language" means what you think it means. Most multicellular life on this planet has a language that it communicates with.

It's impossible to create a language from scratch unless one already has some communication ability built in.


Sure, but by communication ability you mean the ability to move... which already existed.

Language did not evolve [from scratch] - God provided human beings with a means to communicate with HIM from the beginning.


Oh, now I see, you're a nut. Why do you nuts insist on commenting on these scientific articles? It only makes you appear foolish as you desperately try to reconcile the nonsense you believe in with observed and logically derived truth and/or possibility.

JIF
not rated yet Jul 27, 2010
I think the author means, that domesticated animals had to be fed, and that feed cost money/barter products, and that reduces the ammount of food you potentialy have for your family.
"Every mouthful you feed to another species is one that your own children do not eat. On the face of it, caring for another species is maladaptive, so why do we humans do this?"
I dont think that cows or horses or dogs were eating the food of the children, i cant see where the maladaptive part is,and the benefits are great...

JIF
not rated yet Jul 27, 2010
"Establishing an intimate connection to other animals is unique and universal to our species,"

I am not sure either it is unique or universal to our species.
It is as easy as saying, "it takes two to tango."

If we're establishing an "intimate relationship" to another animal, would it not logically require that animal to be establishing an "intimate relationship" with us? As we all know, a one way street is not a relationship, and it certainly is not intimate.

Is it not possible, that wolves came into contact with man lookin for food. They were not looking for a intimate relationship, just food. As time progressed, some wolves may have figured out, that being nice to humans and not trying to eat them, was far more beneficial to their health. Maybe some individual wolves changed their approach to humans, because it was beneficial to them. Could this be defined as intimate relationship from wolf to man?
Skeptic_Heretic
1 / 5 (1) Jul 27, 2010
Is it not possible, that wolves came into contact with man lookin for food. They were not looking for a intimate relationship, just food.
The exchange of food is an intimate relationship.
Djincs
5 / 5 (1) Jul 27, 2010
@JIF
To feed goats it cost you nothing, the grass is everywhere, it is much easyer to look after goats compared with hunting game(it cost less energy), they also give milk(at the beginning it wasnt much but still) to feed your family, if they were fed with wheat now this may look like maladaptation but I am pretty shure they werent, dogs were the furst to be domesticated, they were fed with bones and so on, and they were helping in the hunt, it isnt like the modern dog , to spend money for it and it doesnt give you anything in return(nothing like money food and so on).....no maladaptations here!
And about how it happened I am shure it happend with finding puppies wolves in the forest , it is the easyest way(with the goats and so on the same story), to establish relationship with a grown wild wolf will be really hard work.(hard even for the dog whisperer)