Domestication of Other Wild Animals

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With the domestication of wolves came the floppy ears, playfulness, colored coats, and barking of the dog we know and love today. Interestingly enough, when an experiment was performed on silver foxes these same traits appeared after domestication. Belyaev, a Russian geneticist, conducted this experiment by breeding the tamer foxes. Belyaev bred twenty generations of the tamest foxes until the foxes resembled dogs more than they resembled foxes. In the wild there is no artificial selection so dog domestication definitely took a lot longer. Both the diet and behavior of the foxes changed over time just like those of dogs had changed (Morey, 138). This shows just how much domestication can change any animal, not just wolves. This now begs the question: Why wolves? If other animals, like silver foxes, domesticate similarly to the way a dog evolves then why were dogs domesticated rather than a different species? The topic of dog domestication poses many unanswered questions. When and where did wolves first interact with humans? How did these two different species interact and why?
Even with the species barrier, humans and wolves have a lot in common. Both species alike work together and hunt in packs. Wolves are similar to humans in that they look out for one another and care for their young. “Wolves guard their territory closely and make their presence known…each member of the pack knows his or her position in the scale of dominance.” (Clutton-Brock, 22). The line of command resembles human history of authority and social hierarchy. People claim land and wars break out over it; wolves do the same thing.
Through all these similarities, wolves may have been self-domesticated. The wolves that were not alpha males, ...

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