Sawbones: Rabies


This week on Sawbones, Dr. Sydnee and Justin are feeding bloody nuts to a chicken as they explore the history of rabies.

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Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers


Guy who raised a wolf

Hey guys - just heard the rabies podcast. Excellent job per usual. I noticed you said something a la "what people forget is that there was once a guy who raised a wolf" as the first step of the domestication of dogs. While this was the original theory, anthropologists have determined that it was actually the rise of agriculture that accidentally led to wolves turning to dogs. As humans began to produce more food than they could eat, the tamer wolves would be able to sneak to the garbage heap and eat leftovers. As more aggressive wolves did not have this advantage, some died, and the tamer wolves mated with other tamer wolves to create super tame, adorable wolves, aka pooches.


Canis Lupus (Familiaris)

I'd like to add that Justins' fears of the dog being 25%-50% wolf are completely unjustified. All dogs are 100% wolf. Dogs (Canis Lupus Familiaris) are a sub species of the grey wolf (Canis Lupus).

Also, while the less aggressive wolves were scavenging our garbage, they became useful as alarm animals. As humans began to spend more time with these wolves they discovered that their herding instinct (part of pack hunting, and willingness to defend the pack were very useful too.

The wolves that became dogs gave up freedom to do as they wish for guaranteed meals and shelter. I'd say that they won out over their less domestic cousins. There are more dogs in the world than wolves (at most there are about 200,000 wolves, and about 400 million dogs), and they live for longer as their lives are less about a constant fight for position and feeding rights within a pack, and more about going for walks, and getting fussed, or in the case of working dogs, doing jobs for their pack leader (owner) and getting paid in food.


That's fascinating Sam! Thank

That's fascinating Sam! Thank you.

-Justin McElroy