Kate's Comment

Thoughts on British ICT, energy & environment, cloud computing and security from Memset's MD

Field notes of an alien observer: Homo-canis symbiotic pairs in the wild

Having observed the behavior of native homo-canis symbiotic pairs of grid theta-592 (aka. “Surrey”) for some months now I am able to discern clear behavioral patterns. They tend to emerge from their nests in small, dispersed herds – generally within a few hours of dawn and dusk – to roam the grasslands for a short time. The symbiotic pairs do occasionally interact though this appears to mainly occur via the canine half, and involves complex mixtures of body language, movement, auditory signals and mutual olfactory probing. Given its dizzying complexity I suspect this could be some form of intelligent communication, though further observation is needed.

While I have yet to observe a pair being preyed upon, they clearly have enemies. Most notable are the Jogger and the fearsome Cyclist. These fast-moving sub-species of un-paired hominid frequently exhibit aggressive behavior towards the pairs, especially if the canine half approaches them and/or forces them to stop. This can on occasion result in the normally relatively placid human half entering a highly aroused state and becoming vocally aggressive. Despite the posturing I have not observed the hominids becoming violent. I suspect this behavior is some form of dominance contest and an evolutionary throwback to pre-canine pairing, and cannot therefore be construed as signs of intelligence.

To my surprise I have also yet to witness the pairs feeding. I have observed several attempts by the pairs, seemingly always the canine element again, attempting to catch smaller avian and mammalian prey, though generally unsuccessfully. The canines were clearly originally carnivores. I have, however, observed a Jogger consuming a weak solution of carbohydrates, minerals and basic amino acids. The lack of complex protiens or lipids suggests that the hominids are herbivores, and therefore likely lower on the food chain. Given the similarities between Joggers and the paired hominids I believe it safe to assume that their diets are similar.

Again I find myself suspecting that the canine element is key to unlocking this paired-species’ mysteries; the hominid half’s function remains unclear. Indeed, some of the behaviour originating from the hominid appears quite unhelpful. For example, they frequently take objects and throw them, which inevitably distracts the canine half costing precious time and energy. I suspect this behavior is again a throwback to pre-canine pairing where randomly throwing objects could convey an evolutionary advantage. Indeed, the fact that this behavior appears to affect the canine half as it does leads me to hypothesize that pre-pairing canines were once the dominant species and preyed upon hominids; ie. the throwing evolved as a defensive measure to distract attacking canines.

While it is too early to draw final conclusions I am increasingly leaning towards a hypothesis that the symbiosis is in fact an illusion; that the more intelligent canines have some how domesticated their former prey, the hominids. Given the high density of nests in the region and failure to observe feeding in the wild I suspect that the canines forcibly breed the hominids within their nests for sustenance. Although they appear lumbering and dull-witted, the hominids are much larger than their canine masters. I suspect this is why the canines only ever appear in the wild as part of an apparently symbiotic pairing with a hominid; ie. that the canines specially train a few of their herd to protect them from other hominid-subspecies like the Cyclist. There may be intelligent life on this planet after all!

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