IN THIS cynical age, it seems an appropriate bit of scientific revisionism that the latest studies of the age-old partnership of man and his so-called best friend cast humankind as saps played for all they're worth by cunning dogs.
The recent genetic and behavioral studies, published in the journal Science, essentially find that instead of the man-dog symbiosis arising out of man taming stray wolves, it was they who sought to mooch off us. It was their move, not ours.
It all started with a few clever scavengers who figured out it was worth putting up with us in exchange for our easy pickings. A warm fire and leftovers sure beat hunting.
And it turns out, one of the studies says, that virtually all dogs today - happily leashed, enduring obedience training, being carted to the vet for protective shots, increasingly insured for all sorts of ailments, and fed scientifically balanced diets - can be traced back 15,000 years to as few as five female wolves.
From these early adopters, today's canines inherited their uncanny savvy, reading us like the back of their paws. Very smart parasites, they are. But we knew that.