It’s in the genes.

03 Sep

Researchers in America seem to think they have solved the debate about which is better: cats or dogs? In evolutionary terms it appears that the fossil records shows that felids, the cat family, have been much better at surviving than the canid clan, dogs.

Cats were the better hunters and their retractable claws were of great benefit. Modern dogs, descended from wolves, were better at running its prey down. Either way, it was because they were effective protectors and hunters that they have survived.

We’ve had both cats and dogs as pets over the years and I have to come down in favour of our canid friends. Cats are cold and aloof, dogs loyal and often stupid.

Living along the Jurassic Coast, literally the home to much of our national fossil record, is interesting. Given that lots of people come to Bridport to retire I was once rather cruelly told it’s where you’d expect to find dinosaurs.

Guys, we think it’s the cool moves on the dance floor that attract the girls but Charles Darwin writing in ‘The Ascent of Man in 1871’ said: ‘The exertion of some choice on the part of the female seems almost as general a law as the eagerness of the male.’

So, if a guy gets dumped it’s not because of the aftershave but because intuitively she was looking for a strong male who brings in the buffalo and protects the kids.   And if that mate fails then the female will seek stronger characteristics in another. We are it seems a product of our genes.

Steve Jones in ‘The Serpent’s Promise’ wrote that ’DNA can as a result date any pedigree on a scale from decades to millenia.’ You can now establish family links through one of the family history sites who will undertake genetic testing on your behalf.

As you gaze into those big sad puppy dogs eyes, or are swept with one of those coldly calculating gazes that seem to penetrate, you might be looking at the family pet or just possibly your feller or missus.