Wolf Within
Professor Bryan Sykes, Read by Charles Armstrong

Book cover image

Narrated By: Charles Armstrong

Duration: 8 hours and 3 minutes

What to expect

The genetic history of the dog is a sensational example of the co-evolution of two species, man and wolf, to each other’s mutual benefit. But how did this ancient partnership begin? To answer this question, Professor Bryan Sykes identifies tantalising clues in the recently mapped genetic makeup of both species.

Sykes paints a vivid picture of the dog as an ancient and essential ally. While undoubtedly it was the mastery of fire, language and agriculture that propelled Homo sapiens from a scarce, medium-sized primate to the position we enjoy today, Sykes crucially credits a fourth element for this success: the transformation of the wolf into the multi-purpose helpmate that is the dog. Drawing upon archaeology, history and genetics, Sykes shows how humans evolved to become the dominant species on Earth, but only with the help of our canine companions.

Genre

Popular science, Genetics (non-medical)

Listen to a sample

Praise for The Wolf Within:

‘Fascinating’ The Times

‘Bryan Sykes belongs to the elite band of geneticists who can make their dizzying science at least partially clear to the layman’ Literary Review

‘Scientifically inclined dog lovers will find this a trove of information and provocation’ Kirkus Reviews

‘Rich with details about how humans have studied and shaped dog evolution … Sykes also has a gift for rendering complex concepts, such as mitochondrial DNA or genetic microsatellites, accessible to lay readers’ Publishers Weekly

‘Reading this is like having your own personal geneticist explain complex research papers in a way that is both comprehensible and fascinating. Heavily peppered with references to scientific papers that have documented the research on dog genetics, this also serves as a wealth of further reading material. Rich in accessible analogies that deftly explain complex scientific concepts, this is a must-read for anybody who has wondered about the origins of humans’ best friend’ Library Journal

‘In prose both scientific and poetic, geneticist and author Sykes, self-described as “not a dog person” but curious about the parallel evolution of dog and human, takes us through the archaeological, paleontological, behavioral, and genetic evidence pinpointing the transformation of wolf to dog … Woven throughout are possible answers to why humans are so in love with their dogs, making for a warmly engaging popular-science read’ Booklist

Praise for Professor Bryan Sykes:

‘A terrific book, written with humour and humanity’ Sunday Times

‘An engrossing, bubbly read, a boy's own adventure in scientific storytelling that fairly bounces along … a thumping good read’ Observer

‘Sykes's wonderfully clear book should be compulsory reading for politicians … an eye-opening guide to the new branch of science that is changing the human race's view of itself’ Literary Review