Made for Each Other
by Meg Daley Olmert
“The fact that wolves stopped stalking us and we took them into our caves proved to be a miraculous leap of faith that changed our world forever” reads the introduction. Made for Each Other helps explain the biology of the human-animal bond, largely based on the idea that oxytocin has played a significant role in domesticating large mammals and connecting humans with wolves. Also explored is how our evolution was shaped by these new relationships.
Interesting theories abound, such as the idea that having wolves/dogs as part of the human pack allowed cavemen to get more sleep (with wolves as guard dogs), which in turn allowed the human brain to advance. Additionally, Olmert writes that the human/canine relationship may have led to “more sensitive and patient cavemen” due to factors including increased oxytocin through greater proximity to animals.
The book is based on scientific data and studies as well as supposition, but the arguments are convincing. In regard to our modern day relationships with dogs, Olmert explores how therapy dogs help lower blood pressure, and the question of whether urban dwellers may suffer from lack of oxytocin due to lowered rates of interaction with nature and animals, and isolation in general. Interesting and scholarly, this is also an enjoyable read that’s worth picking up.
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