Home
Reviews
Print|Email|Text Size: ||
Dogs: A Startling New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior, and Evolution
Pages:

Pages

Throughout the book there’s a disturbing lack of reference to numerous highly-regarded experts in this field (though they do cite my own work liberally). Instead the authors depend on people who have done little (or no) empirical work on dogs or wolves and whose work has not been published in peer-reviewed professional journals, the standard by which researchers are accredited. For example, if the authors had used Brian Hare and his colleague’s well-known and readily accessible work on studies of dog and wolf cognitive abilities, rather than the very preliminary research on which they depended, they’d never have claimed that, “Dogs as a rule are very poor at observational learning.” If such spurious claims prevail for subjects with which I’m not familiar then there’s a major problem in this book.

All in all, I found little in Dogs to be "startling" except for the lack of a clear indication where the line between facts and guesses lay. In a project of this magnitude, this troubles me. There are merits to the book. Advancing a new theory on the origin of dogs does spark examination and discussion, but on the whole Dogs left me unconvinced of the Coppinger's theory. The book is riddled with wholesale generalizations and relies too much on personal anecdotes and unsupported speculation to win my recommendation. Dog lovers and dogs themselves deserve better. Readers beware is the best advice I can offer.

 

Note: This review originally appeared in Bark in 2001. This book was published that year as well.

Pages:

Pages

Print|Email
This article first appeared in The Bark,
Issue 17: Winter 2001
Marc Bekoff is a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder. literati.net
CommentsPost a Comment
Please note comments are moderated. After being approved your comment will appear below.
Submitted by Anastasia | September 4 2014 |

Thank you Mark for this review!

More From The Bark

By
Sy Montgomery
By
Elizabeth Kennedy
Pukka’s Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs
By
Rebecca Wallick