Upon approaching the subject in question, one must first ask, “What are dogs?” Evolutionarily speaking, the modern domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) is the descendent of an ancestor held in common with the grey wolf (Canis lupus) (Melina, 2014). As their Latin nomenclature suggests, dogs are only a subspecies of wolf. Therefore, no great genetic misalignments exist to prevent successful reproduction between breeds (hence why mutts are possible). This is conversely untrue of wolves--distinct only in species--as well as any members of any two separate geni, families, orders, classes, phylums, or kingdoms. Breeds--merely typecast mutations from the original--alone enjoy this special privilege.
Yet unexplained, however, are the stark physical and behavioral differences between dogs and their ancestor. If dogs are such a slight variation on the grey wolf, then why do they look so diversely alien to it when compared with wolves of entirely different species? One reasonable explanation for this dissonance that springs to mind is that dogs must still be more dissimilar to each other in genes that express physicality and demeanor than ...
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Trut, L. (Photographer). (2014). Piebald coat color [Web Photo]. Retrieved from https://www.americanscientist.org/issues/issue.aspx?id=813&y=0&no&content=true&page=3&css=print
Trut, L. (Photographer). (2014). Foxes in the domesticated population [Web Photo]. Retrieved from https://www.americanscientist.org/issues/issue.aspx?id=813&y=0&no&content=true&page=3&css=print
Wayne, R. (Producer). (2014). The domestic dog: Man's best friend in the genomic era [Web Graphic]. Retrieved from http://www.k9dna.org/learn-about-dog-genetics/genetics-dog-diversity/canine-population-genetics
Wayne, R. K. Linkage Disequilibrium and Demographic History of Wild and Domestic Canids.Genetics, 1493-1505. Retrieved May 14, 2014, from http://www.k9dna.org/references/journal-article/linkage-disequilibrium-and-demographic-history-wild-and-domestic-canids
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