45,000 years ago: Castaway wolves find comfort in close human contact
Upon arriving in Europe around 45,000 years ago, modern humans competed mainly with their Neanderthal cousins and wolves as the top predators of wooly mammoths and the other megafauna that they would soon hunt to extinction. Scientists believe that at some point, vulnerable stray wolves exiled from their packs began following close to groups of humans, scavenging the bones of the animals they killed and surviving in their perimeter spaces, which other large predators were frequently reluctant to enter. Humans benefited from their presence—the lone wolves that followed them alerted their tribes to encroaching wild predators, Neanderthals, and rival groups of humans.
Read: 15,000–40,000 years ago: The first dogs evolve