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I want you all to go google it now as good dog owners.

I had no idea this existed.

I am in awe to say the least.

Incredible.

now /discuss
 

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I've read about him before - in a couple of different animal behavior textbooks. I think (and may be mis-remembering this) that this breeding started out to try to make the fur farm foxes more easily managed. This result was not expected, nor obviously desirable for the fur trade.

Pretty cool I think.
 

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BigBrownDog/Sharon said
I've read about him before - in a couple of different animal behavior textbooks. I think (and may be mis-remembering this) that this breeding started out to try to make the fur farm foxes more easily managed. This result was not expected, nor obviously desirable for the fur trade....
My memory on this is similar to Sharon's.

It's very exciting because it shows what a remarkable change in the genetics of a species can occur over only 10 or so generations. This has enormous implications for our untangling the evolution of the domestic dogs from wolves and how dogs grew into their role as partners with humans.

Here are a couple links on this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dmitri_Belyaev

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tame_Silver_Fox

BTW, I recently read "King Solomon's Ring" by Konrad Lorenz, published in the 1940s or 50s; this book was one of the forces leading to the establishment of ethology as a legitimate branch of biological science. Always intended to read it because it was so influential in altering comparative psychology's approach, but never got around to it.

(Ethology specializes in studying animals in their native social habitat while, previously, comparative psychology typically used only scientific laboratory experiments to investigate similarities and differences between animals.)

Tinbergen, Lorenz, and von Frisch were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1973 for their bodies of work that established ethology and its methods of studies as legitimate science.

While Lorenz discovered and popularized "imprinting," "critical periods," and the "following response" as legitimate areas of study, his long chapter in "King Solomon's R" on the evolution of dogs was very disappointing to me and based on faulty observation and specious logic and reasoning. Very disillusioning at first until I settled for the view that great originators don't have to be 90% right. Even 60% is a significant, worthwhile contribution.

Back to Belyaef's contribution -- tremendous, worthwhile, and very significant to an understanding of how evolution works and, e.g., how internal biochemical states effect the expression of genes; that the expression of a gene is always dependent on its biochemical environment. And like much of science, it was discovered by serendipity (totally unexpected, unlooked for).

ETA von Frisch and 1973

 
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