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Publisher's Summary

How did the dog become man’s best friend? A celebrated anthropologist unearths the mysterious origins of the unique partnership that rewrote the history of both species.

Dogs and humans have been inseparable for more than 40,000 years. The relationship has proved to be a pivotal development in our evolutionary history. The same is also true for our canine friends; our connection with them has had much to do with their essential nature and survival. How and why did humans and dogs find their futures together, and how have these close companions (literally) shaped each other? Award-winning anthropologist Pat Shipman finds answers in prehistory and the present day.

In Our Oldest Companions, Shipman untangles the genetic and archaeological evidence of the first dogs. She follows the trail of the wolf-dog, neither prehistoric wolf nor modern dog, whose bones offer tantalizing clues about the earliest stages of domestication. She considers the enigma of the dingo, not quite domesticated yet not entirely wild, who has lived intimately with humans for thousands of years while actively resisting control or training. Shipman tells how scientists are shedding new light on the origins of the unique relationship between our two species, revealing how deep bonds formed between humans and canines as our guardians, playmates, shepherds, and hunters.

Along the journey together, dogs have changed physically, behaviorally, and emotionally, as humans too have been transformed. Dogs’ labor dramatically expanded the range of human capability, altering our diets and habitats and contributing to our very survival. Shipman proves that we cannot understand our own history as a species without recognizing the central role that dogs have played in it. 

©2021 by Pat Shipman (P)2021 by Blackstone Publishing

What listeners say about Our Oldest Companions

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too far from topic

I usually finish books but could not make it through this one. I found the book to be more about her conception of human history than about human history related to dog history and I don't trust her insight particularly about that topic. Perhaps I am familiar with recent developments.

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Could have been said in half the time.

There was so much repetition in this book it's like the author was trying to hammer her points home with a sledge hammer. The narrator was OK but had a rather monotonous tone. It was a great book for insomnia though.

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off topic, I think?

I'm going to ignore the false implication modern humans are a direct evolution from Neanderthals, just to keep this short. but the author went into great detail about how Australia had no wolves but still described the entire history of man on Australia. can we agree that Australia didn't have a place in the domestication because lack of wolves means they brought there dogs with them? maybe I got confused as the author tried to explain unessicary scientific facts and timeliness? I feel like this was supposed to be a books about man and dog. man left his dog home this day and this book is about man, from the authors interpretation

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  • ds
  • 11-20-21

History of the Dingo

Decent listen but felt more like a book about dingos. would have liked to hear more examples of companionship.

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Meh

It was OK. I think alot of assumptions were made in this book. Especially the beginning when she is telling you how dogs feel so confidently.

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  • Justin
  • 11-19-21

Great for anyone interested in the development of the canine human bond.

This is the follow up to The Invaders I was hoping for.

Great for anyone interested in the development of the canine human bond.