Animal Domestication Theory

1856 Words 8 Pages
The domestic dog (Canis familiaris) was the first animal species to be domesticated by humans. They were tamed from Eurasian gray wolves (Canis lupus), and genetic studies revealed that this domestication could have occurred up to 40,000 years ago. There are many theories to how humans began taming wolves. One theory was that wolves began following people around in order to more easily acquire food and that the ‘tamer’ wolves were kept as pets. As people began acquiring these wolves they began to selectively breed them to enhance desired traits and lessen undesirable traits. This process is known as artificial selection and is a well-understood process of animal domestication.
Artificial selection is a process that can humans have applied
…show more content…
Neoteny often affects more than a single characteristic in an animal. In fact, an animal is likely to retain a number of juvenile behavioral and physical characteristics of their ancestor rather than just a single characteristic due to the interconnectivity involves in genetics and behavior (Coppinger, R., J. Glendinning, E. Torop, C. Matthay, M. Sutherland, and C. Smith, 2010). The purpose of this study was to test Benson Ginsburg’s theory that due to the physical and behavioral neotenous traits displayed by dogs will negatively affect their ability to perform cognitive skills when compared to their ancestor the wolf. The cognitive skills that were thought to have been affected are their ability to familiarize with their environment and sequentially manipulate objects in a specific order. There is a wide consensus among people that dogs are the neotenic descendants of its wild ancestor the wolf (Coppinger, R., J. Glendinning, E. Torop, C. Matthay, M. Sutherland, and C. Smith, …show more content…
One of these limitations is that humans have selectively bred dogs in order to respond differently in variable conditions due to this controlling all factors within comparative experiments to make an even playing field are difficult. Not only that, but due to the time, expense, and long maturation period, and behavioral differences it makes controlling experimental conditions difficult. Dogs in previous cognitive experiments were shown to display a high rate of performance in cognitive tasks (Horowitz, Alexandra, 2008). In fact, their level of performance was shown to rival that of chimpanzees, who can even outperform humans in some cognitive tasks (Horowitz, Alexandra, 2008). This idea was examined by comparing the behavior of adult dogs (German shepherds) and different ages of wolves (juveniles and adults) in order to examine how neoteny affects behavior and to investigate the possible differences in their cognitive abilities due to this condition. Previous studies have shown that an animals mind is capable of associating numerous physical actions to a number of responses (Thorndike, Edward L, 1911). This examination was done using various configurations of different length ropes vertical hung from the ceiling that may or may not have needed to be pulled in a particular sequence. The need of pulling the ropes in a certain sequence was to test the animals’

Related Documents