Dlm C Caslin

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Mike Dowson

(с) Mike Dowson


Man's Best (Prehistoric) Friend

Does your fish jump up and down when it sees you head for the car? Have you ever seen someone walking down the street, led by a seeing-eye cat? If someone threatens you, how loud does your snake hiss?

Only dogs do all these things! No question: There is a special bond between people and dogs. That's why we call the dog "man's best friend." Have you ever wondered when this bond began? If you guessed more than 8,000 years ago, you would be close. From research at the campsites of prehistoric hunting and gathering peoples worldwide, archaeologists know that the dog was the first domesticated animal. Of course, not every dog was man's best friend. Archaeologists have found dog bone fragments in trash heaps, so they know people in some prehistoric cultures ate dogs. Prehistoric people also used dog teeth as ornaments.


But research shows that there were some special dogs. For example, at campsites scattered along Kentucky's Green River between 6,000 and 3,000 years ago, prehistoric hunter-gatherers carefully buried more than 180 dogs--male and female, young and old in shallow pits. These dogs were not buried in separate cemeteries; human burials were also uncovered in shallow pits at the campsites.

From studying the Green River dogs' skeletons and how the dogs were buried, researchers have learned that these animals stood about 14 to 18 inches at their shoulders. That is about the size of a cocker spaniel or fox terrier. They may have had long hair and looked like a young wolf, their closest common ancestor. Of great interest is the fact that different breeds of dogs were not found. The variety in dogs began relatively "recently"--some 2,000 years ago or maybe even earlier.

The buried dogs' bones offer evidence that prehistoric people did keep them as pets and companions--and some had to work. In prehistoric North America, the only "beasts of burden" were people…and their dogs. So, people used dogs to carry loads that included items such as firewood and household wares. Prehistoric hunters, just as hunters today, also probably used dogs as hunting companions, directing them to flush out game or track down wounded animals.


The fact that these prehistoric people sometimes buried older male dogs with men, women, and children is the best evidence we have of the special relationship between people and dogs. One Green River burial tells it all (see above). A boy--7 to 12 years old--lies on his right side, folded into a fetal position in a shallow oval pit. A middle-aged male dog lies beside him. The dog's muzzle is on the boy's left shoulder, his left paw draped across the boy's chest. What could have happened? The bones provide no clues as to how they died. Were their deaths accidental? Did the boy's family kill the dog to be his companion in the afterlife? We will never know. What we do know, based on archaeological research worldwide, is that dogs truly have been man's best friend for a long time.

Dr. Dig says:

For more pictures of dog burials from the Green River sites in western Kentucky or from archaeological sites in other Southeastern states, go to the University of Tennessee's digital libraries web site at: http://diglib.lib.utk.edu/wpa/, click on "search/browse the collection," then type in "dog burial" under "search for."

By A. Gwynn Henderson


Prisoner of War

About a month ago, a man in Amsterdam felt that he needed to confess, so he went to his priest, "Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. During WWII I hid a refugee in my attic."

"Well," answered the priest, "that's not a sin."

"But I made him agree to pay me 20 Guilders for every week he stayed."

"I admit that wasn't good, but you did it for a good cause."

"Oh, thank you, Father; that eases my mind. I have one more question..."

"What is that, my son?"

"Do I have to tell him the war is over?"

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Simply shine!


A Proven New Yorker

A quiet little man was brought before a judge. The judge looked down at the man and then at the charges and then down at the little man in amazement.

"Can you tell me in your own words what happened?" he asked the man.

"I'm a mathematician dealing in the nature of proof."

"Yes, go on," said the astounded judge.

"Well, I was at the library and I found the books I wanted and went to take them out. They told me my library card had expired and I had to get a new one. So I went to the registration office and got in another line. And filled out my forms for another card. And got back in line for my card."

"And?" said the judge.

"And he asked 'Can you prove you're from New York City?' ....So I stabbed him."

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Grandpa Joe

"Grandpa?" Jake said shyly. Jake wasn't usually shy when it came to asking his grandfather about how things were back in the olden days. But asking his grandfather about his grandfather seemed strange. "Way back when you were little, did you have a grandpa too?"

"Sure," Grandpa laughed. "Even way back then, we had grandparents. All we were waiting for was someone to invent uncles and aunts!"

"That's silly!" Jake said.

"I suppose it is," Grandpa admitted, "but it's true. Uncle Sam didn't come along for years and years. And Aunt Jemima wasn't even in the planning stages."


Grandpa smiled, "Sure," he said, "I had a grandpa. I had two grandpas, just like you. But Pop and Nana, my dad's folks, lived in Michigan and I only saw them in the summer. My Grandpa Joe and my Grandma Jean were right here in town. I saw them almost every day."

"Like I see you?" Jake said.


"Was he like you, Grandpa?" Jake asked.

"Your Grandpa Joe?"

"You mean old and wrinkled?"

"No!" Jake laughed. "I mean nice."

"He was the nicest man I ever knew," Grandpa said without a moment's hesitation. "Everybody liked my Grandpa Joe. Why, he could make a weeping willow dry its tears and laugh out loud."

"C'mon!" Jake said. "That's impossible."

"For you or me maybe," Grandpa said. "But my Grandpa Joe had a way with people. Made 'em smile."

"Was he a comedian?" Jake asked. "Like on TV?"

"No," Grandpa chuckled. "Besides, they didn't have TV back then."

"No TV?" Jake cried.

"Hard to believe, isn't it?" Grandpa said. "But somehow they survived."

"What did he do?"

"You mean without TV?"

"No!" Jake laughed. "What did he do for a living?"

"Lots of different things," Grandpa said. "He was a glass maker as a young man, then a mechanic, and finally a night watchman."

"A glass maker?"

"He made glass for windows in a factory down in Pennsylvania. Spent almost a dozen years there doing that. Sent most of what he earned back home to his mom. Then he moved up here, married my grandmother, and got a job as a mechanic for the Electric Company. He could fix pretty near anything mechanical, my Grandpa Joe. And when he got too old for that, he became the night watchman at the same plant."

"A night watchman isn't a very important job, is it?"

"To some, maybe not," Grandpa said. "But Grandpa Joe did lots of important things. He taught me how to fish. He taught me how to whistle with two fingers in my mouth. He taught me how to make a fort out of old boxes in the backyard."

"You liked him a lot, didn't you?" Jake said.

Grandpa Joe smiled. "Not a day goes by that I don't think about him. And the thing I remember most is that he always had time for me."

"You always have time for me. Grandpa," Jake smiled.

"You see," Grandpa said, reaching down to tousle Jake's unruly hair. "I guess my Grandpa Joe taught me that's a grandpa's most important job."

By J. T. Waite