Watching our dog Simon tonight exploring his world, following an agenda that he has in his mind but which is largely opaque to me without his keen senses, I think of how humans have been coexisting with dogs for millennia. (Some say 14,000 years ago, some put it back to 30,000 or more.) In the beginning , around the campfire, there must have been tension while the wolves pondered whether it would be easier to get some of the food the humans were eating or to kill and eat the humans. The humans viewed the wolves as a threat or even a potential food source if they could kill one without getting killed. Over the course of perhaps 1000 or more years they developed a symbiotic relationship that eventually resulted in what we have today, where both species are different because of each other.

But there had to be a first one. There had to be the first proto-human who thought something different than the others about these predators that were prowling around the campfire. One who said/signed/grunted a different approach to the problem. It always has to be a first one who thinks something new.

I recall several years ago on a bike trip in South Africa, standing on the edge of a rift valley and seeing the other edge, a steep cliff, far away on the other side. It is easy to see why things could develop differently on the two sides when traveling between them would’ve been extremely difficult. But I had a vision of a single protohuman, male or female I don’t know which, standing on that other edge and thinking to itself in whatever manner that happens before formal language, “I wonder what’s over there ?” Not because it needed a mate or a food source, since those things probably were available on its side, but rather just to know what was on the other side. I think that one led to us.

About johngrice

Retired small town lawyer, lifelong motorcyclist, traveler and old guy sitting around thinking.
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