Nobody knows exactly when or how it happened, but more than 15,000 years ago, wolves began to interact with humans in a way that would eventually change some members of their species forever, and develop an inter-species bond unlike any other on Earth. Wolf to Woof: The Story of Dogs is an interactive exhibition that delves into the fascinating history and evolution of dogs. The exhibit runs through Jan. 8, 2012.
Wolf to Woof is the largest, most comprehensive traveling exhibition ever to examine the history, biology and evolution of dogs and the role of dogs in human societies. Ancient clues from cave paintings and burials reveal that dogs and people have lived together for thousands of years. Over that time, humans have bred dogs for work and whimsy, creating the hundreds of domestic breeds known today.
“No other single species in the animal kingdom has the incredible diversity of shapes and sizes that we see in dogs,” said Robert Wayne, professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, and scientific advisor for the exhibition. “The diversity of dogs and their abilities as hunters, herders, guards and companions have made them our ‘best friends’ for thousands of years – longer than any other domestic animal.”
The exhibition features multimedia displays, artifacts and dioramas featuring taxidermied wild canines and sculpted modern dog breeds. Interactive, hands-on components allow visitors to enter a “howling area” and guess what dogs are saying, test their noses against a dog’s great sense of smell, and climb into an avalanche scene to see what it’s like to be saved by a search-and-rescue dog.
The exhibit explores the link between wolves and dogs, which helps to explain why dogs do the things they do. It also delves into the many unique skills and abilities dogs possess and how humans have put these qualities to use by breeding dogs as workers, guards and companions. From the hunting and herding dogs of centuries past, to helper dogs for people with disabilities and therapy dogs for those who have suffered trauma, dogs have served and continue to serve the human species in countless ways.
Wolf to Woof: The Story of Dogs is sure to generate in museum visitors a renewed respect and admiration for our versatile, loyal four-footed friends. The exhibit was created by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and was supported in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation. Local media support for the exhibition is provided by Cox Media and The Oklahoman.
The Sam Noble Museum is located on the University of Oklahoma Norman campus. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors ages 65 and up, and $3 for youth ages 6 to 17. Children ages 5 and under are free. Discounts are available for military personnel and their immediate families. There is no additional admission fee to see Wolf to Woof.
Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History
2401 Chautauqua Ave. Norman, OK 73072-7029
(ph) 405.325.4712 (fax) 405.325.7699