Anyone here seen the latest "National Geographic Magaine"?

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-03-2001
Anyone here seen the latest "National Geographic Magaine"?
3
Wed, 02-23-2011 - 10:43am

There's a fascinating article called "Taming the Wild" (it's actually the cover article) where this Russian geneticist is working at domesticating foxes! And being successful! http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/03/taming-wild-animals/ratliff-text

They are looking for the "gene" or complext of genes, more likely, that allows some animals to be domesticated (meaning that offspring are naturally domesticated --- not tamed like circus animals whose offspring are as wild as their ancestors)...



CL for "

Community Leader
Registered: 11-21-2001

Are foxes the same genus as wolves....which are the same as canines?

Laura
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-03-2001

Actually, foxes are closer related (id that proper grammar?) to cats than wolves/dogs.

As to why, who knows. This was the pet project of a Russian geneticist who was on the outs with Stalin, et al and some of his "students" have continued it. I THINK it was an attempt to find out why some animals WERE domesticated and others were not/can't be! And since it embraced the concept of evolution and genetics and not Lamarckism, it wasn't approved of by the Soviet government. The article said he also tried this with other species --- all of which were purchased from fur farms and interbred on the basis of the "niceness" to humans... Aggressive ones were sent back to teh farms to meet their fate. And apparently foxes worked the best!

The interesting part of this whole thing was that coat color, tail shape and face shape all changed with behavior! So there was a physical component connected to the "domestication gene" complex which may have played a role in the original "taming" of dogs, goats, cows, etc.

Oh, and they said that cats probably domesticated themselves --- typical!



CL for "

Community Leader
Registered: 11-21-2001

I'm sure that's true....cats don't like to be bossed around by "anyone"....LOLOL.....

Laura