To the Editor:
Historically, we Homo sapiens have had a lot in common with wolves. From a highly complex social standpoint, no other species on the planet is so much like ourselves.
Early man, as hunter-gatherers living together in small bands, learned the benefits of teamwork — perhaps they learned it from observing wolves. After all, wolves got their collaborative act together much earlier than we did. Modern humans have been around for about 200,000 years; wolves have been around for about 2 million years.
Wolves live today much as they always have. They live together in family groups that we call “packs.” Contrary to popular belief, a pack does not consist of unrelated wolves. Instead, it’s made up of the alpha pair (the parents), offspring from earlier litters, the current litter, an occasional aunt or uncle, and rarely, an unrelated outsider. Fiercely loyal to their families, wolves were — and still are — the ultimate team players. They benefit by employing teamwork in successfully taking down large and often dangerous prey many times their size.
Living and working together in packs enables wolves to protect themselves and safeguard their hunting territory from other predators. All pack members share in the raising and care of the family’s pups. Older siblings babysit and play with the current litter.
Wolves show compassion, care for the injured and sick, and mourn the death of family members. In territorial disputes with other packs, old wolves are the most important pack members for they possess experience and leadership which often enables their pack to win, even when outnumbered.
Man has evolved — and not entirely for the better. In today’s society, families have become dysfunctional, inferior remnants of what they once were. Conversely, for wolves, family continues to be all that matters. In that respect, they could re-teach our species a few things.