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Humanity’s Best Friend: A Dog-Centric Approach to Addressing Global Challenges

Department of Archaeology, University of Exeter, Exeter, Devon EX4 4QE, UK
Department of Criminology, University of Southern Maine, Portland, ME 04104, USA
Department of Psychology, Barnard College, 3009 Broadway, New York, NY 10027, USA
Department of Math and Sciences, Exeter College, Exeter EX4 4HF, UK
Department of Sociology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
Bioinformatics and Integrative Biology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01605, USA
Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA
WALTHAM Petcare Science Institute, Waltham on the Wolds LE14 4RT, UK
Annenberg PetSpace Foundation, 12005 Bluff Creek Dr, Playa Vista, CA 90094, USA
Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Penryn TR10 9FE, UK
Department of Archaeology, University of Iceland, 102 Reykjavík, Iceland
Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine (CHSTM), University of Manchester, Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
Department of Biology and Department of Pathology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA
Wellbeing International, 9812 Falls Road #114-288, Potomac, MD 20854-3963, USA
Department of Anthropology, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC V8W 2Y2, Canada
Department of Anthropology, Durham University, Durham DH1 1LE, UK
School of History, Classics and Archaeology, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU, UK
Department of Psychology, Arizona State University, Box 871104, Tempe, AZ 85281, USA
LMU Center for Urban Resilience, Loyola Marymount University, LMU Drive Los Angeles, CA 90045-2659, USA
Palaeogenomics & Bio-Archaeology Research Network, School of Archaeology, 1 South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3TG, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(3), 502;
Received: 24 December 2019 / Revised: 4 March 2020 / Accepted: 7 March 2020 / Published: 17 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Human-Animal Interactions, Animal Behaviour and Emotion)
The Earth is under increasing pressure from the burgeoning global human population and the subsequent rise in demand for food and a myriad of other finite resources. Mitigating the environmental, societal and ecological impact of the human footprint requires understanding the long-term relationships between our species and the plants and animals we now rely upon. In addition, the modern scientific approach often conceives of, and addresses individual problems through narrow windows that can fail to take into account the connectedness of multiple problems. By broadening the scope of inquiry to include both science and humanities perspectives, and simultaneously focussing on a single species, we suggest that many of the United Nations Strategic Development Goals (SDGs) can be addressed more effectively. In this paper, we describe how a comprehensive assessment of the long-term relationship between humans and dogs can yield insights, and offer ways in which modern global challenges can be tackled.
No other animal has a closer mutualistic relationship with humans than the dog (Canis familiaris). Domesticated from the Eurasian grey wolf (Canis lupus), dogs have evolved alongside humans over millennia in a relationship that has transformed dogs and the environments in which humans and dogs have co-inhabited. The story of the dog is the story of recent humanity, in all its biological and cultural complexity. By exploring human-dog-environment interactions throughout time and space, it is possible not only to understand vital elements of global history, but also to critically assess our present-day relationship with the natural world, and to begin to mitigate future global challenges. In this paper, co-authored by researchers from across the natural and social sciences, arts and humanities, we argue that a dog-centric approach provides a new model for future academic enquiry and engagement with both the public and the global environmental agenda. View Full-Text
Keywords: Strategic Development Goals; dog domestication; sustainable development Strategic Development Goals; dog domestication; sustainable development
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MDPI and ACS Style

Sykes, N.; Beirne, P.; Horowitz, A.; Jones, I.; Kalof, L.; Karlsson, E.; King, T.; Litwak, H.; McDonald, R.A.; Murphy, L.J.; Pemberton, N.; Promislow, D.; Rowan, A.; Stahl, P.W.; Tehrani, J.; Tourigny, E.; Wynne, C.D.L.; Strauss, E.; Larson, G. Humanity’s Best Friend: A Dog-Centric Approach to Addressing Global Challenges. Animals 2020, 10, 502.

AMA Style

Sykes N, Beirne P, Horowitz A, Jones I, Kalof L, Karlsson E, King T, Litwak H, McDonald RA, Murphy LJ, Pemberton N, Promislow D, Rowan A, Stahl PW, Tehrani J, Tourigny E, Wynne CDL, Strauss E, Larson G. Humanity’s Best Friend: A Dog-Centric Approach to Addressing Global Challenges. Animals. 2020; 10(3):502.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Sykes, Naomi, Piers Beirne, Alexandra Horowitz, Ione Jones, Linda Kalof, Elinor Karlsson, Tammie King, Howard Litwak, Robbie A. McDonald, Luke J. Murphy, Neil Pemberton, Daniel Promislow, Andrew Rowan, Peter W. Stahl, Jamshid Tehrani, Eric Tourigny, Clive D.L. Wynne, Eric Strauss, and Greger Larson. 2020. "Humanity’s Best Friend: A Dog-Centric Approach to Addressing Global Challenges" Animals 10, no. 3: 502.

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