I've often been puzzled by the fact that dogs were very early adopted by human beings as companion animals. The present state of affairs, of course, hardly needs comment; dogs are clearly adapted to our society, and mimic the behaviour and even the appearance of children. But how did this come to be?

The wolf is a truly terrifying animal, and anyone who has been face to face with the mini-version, the fox, will know that these are some of the coldest, cleverest eyes on the planet, aside from our own. How would such predatory animals ever form a stable physical relationship with human groups so as to co-evolve with them?

A clue to the answer is found in Cottrell's Energy and Society (1955), 19: Early dogs were used as energy storage systems. Canines accompanied human hunters, shared in the kill, and were themselves later eaten at times of hardship.

In essence,then, they were drawn into a relation with man by self-interest, but also functioned as a self-shepherding flock of emergency food animals, with both parties benefitting from the association. However, the relationship was not stable. Those dogs that were able to best resemble human beings in character were least likely to be eaten, with the results that we see around us today, where almost none are actually consumed.