I am not sure why you are concerned with the sclera of Neandertals. First you would need to show that dogs that normally follow the gaze of a human do not follow the gaze of a human whose sclera is masked by a contact-lens sort of device, giving the sclera some other color. The color of the eye may make little difference, as long as the dog knows where the human is looking. The only demonstration I have seen involved having the human turn their head toward what they are viewing, i.e., point their nose toward the object. It did not take into account the colors of the visible eye. In fact, it is not clear that the dog was even looking directly into the eyes of the human.
Further, to suggest the human beings with white sclera were selected for by interacting with dogs is a very hard sell. It would imply that there is no way to train a dog without having white sclera. But dogs can be trained for hand signals and sound signals.
Wolves that were selected for docile, non-aggressive behavior were probably the ones that became modern dogs. They were probably not selected by the propensity to focus on white sclera; there is no reason to suppose otherwise.
Your speculation is interesting but unless you have some other evidence related to the color of human sclera, you are making unnecessary assumptions.
On a tangent, it is absurd for people to assume that just because they buried their dog, the also shared some cultural delusions common today, i.e., the existence of a soul, and afterlife, and so on. One could just as well assume that someone left a bone for the dog in case it started moving again, as if they expected it to wake up from a drunken state, a stupor, or a deep sleep. All of that is speculation sans evidence, just like assuming ancient humans held particular religious views.
posted by Bradley Ball
June 5, 2012
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