These carvings are from ivory and have been dated to between 30,000-36,000 years old, making them the oldest artworks in Europe. Credit: Photo by H. Jensen. Copyright: University of Tubingen.
It’s no secret to any dog-lover or cat-lover that humans have a special connection with animals. But in a new journal article and forthcoming book, paleoanthropologist Pat Shipman of Penn State University argues that this human-animal connection goes well beyond simple affection. Shipman proposes that the interdependency of ancestral humans with other animal species — “the animal connection” — played a crucial and beneficial role in human evolution over the last 2.6 million years.