Review: A Dog in the Cave

I have to admit, I am not quite sure how to write this review.

I found the book fascinating despite the fact that I don't believe in evolution.  I do believe that species can change over time to suit it's environment better, but I don't that reptiles can become mammals or that a one-celled critter can suddenly become a fish.  There are no gap animals.  This book is less about evolution, though that thought comes up frequently, and more about how two species influence the development of each other.

The book Synopsis:
We know dogs are our best animal friends, but have you ever thought about what that might mean?

Fossils show we've shared our work and homes with dogs for tens of thousands of years. Now there's growing evidence that we influenced dogs' evolution-and they, in turn, changed ours. Even more than our closest relatives, the apes, dogs are the species with whom we communicate best.
Combining history, paleontology, biology, and cutting-edge medical science, Kay Frydenborg paints a picture of how two different species became deeply entwined-and how we coevolved into the species we are today.

My thoughts:
The premise of the book is that does and humans have been together for far longer than has been thought, and the question is this... when did those first dogs start to coexist with people?

Numerous examples from archaeological finds are used to further the questions being raised.
Could prehistoric dogs be distinguished from prehistoric wolves?   Current dogs have a shorter, broader muzzles today than wolves have so perhaps that might be true from days gone by. 

Contained within the pages of this book you will find seven chapters.
1. Close encounters of the Canine Kind
2. Written in the bones
3. Wolf-dogs: these skulls are how old?
4. A meeting of minds
5. Written in the genes
6. The dog on the couch:  Canine Psychologists
7. A wolf on the bed

The premise of the book is this.   Dogs made us the people that we are today, and we made dogs the creatures they are today.  There is I think, some truth to that statement... from how dogs make the job of a shepherd easier, how dogs can provide comfort to individuals, and then on the flip side, how dogs are been specifically bred to be companions, guardians, or hunters.   

We shape them, they shape us.

Did they make us human?   Read the decide.  :)

A Dog in the Cave: The wolves who made us human
by Kay Frydenborg

Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt books for young readers
244 pages
Aged for 12 years old and up

 Reviewed for Raincoast Books. A Dog in the Cave: The Wolves Who Made Us Human A Dog in the Cave: The Wolves Who Made Us Human


  1. Hmm - interesting. You get some different books, for sure. - Lori

    1. It was interesting following the flow of ideas. I didn't buy into all her suppositions but still interesting.


Hi! thanks for stopping by. I love comments, it's good to talk with each other eh?