intriguing hypothesis: "Y Modern Wolves R Poor Models For Dog Domestication" - Page 2

Go Back   Dog Forum > Keeping and Caring for Dogs > Dog Training and Behavior

intriguing hypothesis: "Y Modern Wolves R Poor Models For Dog Domestication"

This is a discussion on intriguing hypothesis: "Y Modern Wolves R Poor Models For Dog Domestication" within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Originally Posted by Moonstream I'll admit that I didn't actually read the referenced article until now, just looked at the responses on the forum. The ...

User Tag List

Like Tree2Likes

 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 10-28-2017, 10:42 AM
  #11
Senior Member
 
Markie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 1,485
Mentioned: 74 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moonstream View Post
I'll admit that I didn't actually read the referenced article until now, just looked at the responses on the forum. The guy is a decent writer and clearly interacts with a number of sources on the topic, though it sounds like they're largely documentaries. His vocabulary (using terms like "monphyly of the species") leads me to believe he has had some degree of education in regards to evolutionary biology, though I can't find specifics on a brief review of the website. So- I don't think he's necessarily an uneducated source, but some of his ideas.

I can't speak with much in depth knowledge on the ideas about human evolution- I do know that there's a split as to whether or not knuckle walking is an ancestral trait of the clade (humans and great apes). I don't know which way general opinion tends to sway on this topic.

I can, however, speak quite a lot to his ideas about dog domestication. There are two main ideas of how dogs were domesticated. The longest-held belief is that we domesticated them intentionally, removing wolf pups during a critical period of socialization and bottle raising/taming them. The more recent, and more widely upheld hypothesis within the science, is that of "self domestication" proposed by Raymond Coppinger. This idea was spurred by the observation that many settlements have feral dog populations of dogs that have never been owned, produced by dogs that have never been owned. There tends to be a rough size and shape to the dogs, and true "village dog" populations are of true crossbred dogs that have had minimal genetic input from modern breeds.

Coppinger's hypothesis is that some ancient wolves had a lesser "flight distance" towards humans- that is, they were willing to tolerate a closer proximity to humans than others of their species. At human settlements, it is likely there were collections of refuse that would have been edible for the wolves. Those animals with a lesser flight distance- those able to tolerate a closer proximity- were able to make use of these food sources. Over time, there was selective pressure on this population for animals with even lesser flight distance, until presumably they lived within the settlements themselves, of their own volition and without the need to be restrained.

It is important to remember that even the more conservative estimates of when dogs were likely domesticated- the point at which their ancestors began to experience markedly different selective pressures from the rest of the population- are before the agricultural revolution, and more importantly before widespread evidence that human populations were keeping or confining any animals as a food source. Add to that that evidence suggests that there were several separate domestication events in unrelated, isolated populations across the world. It seems unlikely that multiple human populations would all have had the novel idea to capture very young wolf pups and raise them at this time. It is more likely that environmental pressures began pushing humans towards a different style of living, introducing trash heaps closer to human settlements, and multiple populations of a similarly widespread species began to exploit a new food source.

There is also support given to Coppinger's hypothesis by the Belyaev Fox experiment (this seems to be one of the better explanations of the study: https://dogcogblog.wordpress.com/201...ox-experiment/). Short version: a Russian scientist was exiled to a fur farm in Sibera due to darwinist ideas at a time when the party line of the country followed a different idea of evolution (I believe it was Lamarkian evolution, the idea that traits are introduced over the lifetime of an animal). Scientist then performs a secret experiment under the guise of making the fur foxes easier to handle. Scientist breeds two lines- one with a greater flight distance (less fearful of humans, able to tolerate humans near their cage or with hands in their cage without a less fearful, less aggressive response) and one with lesser flight distance (more fearful of humans, displaying an extremely fearful and aggressive response to human proximity). The line bred for lesser flight distance (ie, less fear) displayed changes very similar to those that had to happen in domestication from wolf to dog within very few generations- change in ear set, introduction of piebald coat patterns, increase in affiliative and appeasement behavior towards humans, change in skull shape towards the juvenile form, etc.

Going back to the originally posted article- the author has two main suppositions.

One is that modern wolves are poor models for ancient ones. He presents this as a novel idea he came up with, and while it is possible he came to this realization on his own, it is not a novel one. John Bradshaw (a widely regarded scientist who largely studies dog cognition) presents this idea in his book Dog Sense. He supposes that the domestic dog and the modern wolf represent an ongoing divergence within a species. He proposes that ancient wolves diverged into two populations facing opposite selective pressures- one population is that that produced the domestic dog, facing selective pressures for cooperation with humans. The other population- that that produced the modern wolf- faced the opposite selective pressure, facing strong pressure for fear of humans. Thus, the modern wolf is unlikely to reflect the behavior of their ancestors. This is a sound claim.

His other supposition is that because modern wolves who have not been exposed to humans appear to show less fear of humans and are more willing to approach them/interact with them, it would have been easier for ancient humans to capture them and bring them into their homes. While I think his point about wolves who have not been exposed to humans being braver is a good one, I think his claim that this discredits Coppinger's hypothesis is a whole bunch of mallarky. The reason it's unlikely humans captured and tamed wolves has less to do with wolves being fearful and more with the fact that it seems unlikely that humans would have captured and contained a predator (that shows amazing skill in escape) prior to attempting it with a food source and without much gains on the part of the humans. Remember, this was when humans were still highly nomadic and the containment of a large, naturally far-ranging predator would have been made even more difficult than it already is.
I agree I watched the fox evolution on National Geographic what basically happened is the man keep them separated. The one group that was calmer could be around humans did start changing fur temperament everything. The other group didn't they were aggressive and wanted nothing to do with us. I thought they just changed to make sure they survived after reading what you said it would make since if there was a different wolf long ago that made dogs then died off and there was a split of the species our modern wolf with the domestic dog. The same thing that happened to the foxes could've happened to the wolves they were brought in captured and through time changed that would make since if it happened to foxes it can happen to wolves.

Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk
Markie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-28-2017, 11:10 AM
  #12
Banned
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Boston metro-area, USA
Posts: 1,885
Mentioned: 46 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Exclamation Did he? - shoot, i missed that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moonstream View Post

...
His other supposition is that because modern wolves who have not been exposed to humans appear to show less fear of humans and are more willing to approach them/interact with them, it would have been easier for ancient humans to capture them and bring them into their homes.
...
did i misread the blog? -
I didn't think he suggested that naively-trusting wolves or their pups would be "easier for early humans to kidnap & rear".

I thought he meant that naively-trusting modern wolves [the Arctic subspecies] would be better models for dog-domestication, or at least some semblance of dog-similar behaviors if they were reared from puphood now, as wolf-pups from other, natively-suspicious wolf-popns have been, for research purposes.
I'll have to re-read the blog.


I know he promptly pointed out that this Arctic subspecies is so specialized & few in number, it would be unethical to remove pups from wild parents.
Idea:
If i'm not mistaken, a number of zoos have captive Arctic wolves; temporarily releasing a pup from 3 or 4 different pairs, or even releasing an entire litter, to the custody of researchers for early rearing, then returning them to the zoo, should be possible - zoos & captive breeding programs need to human-habituate their pups, in any case, so that they remain handleable as adults without severe stress.
Essentially, the researchers would do the job for the zoo, rather than their own personnel & volunteers doing it.

- terry

leashedForLife is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-28-2017, 11:26 AM
  #13
Senior Member
 
Moonstream's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 657
Mentioned: 46 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by leashedForLife View Post
did i misread the blog? -
I didn't think he suggested that naively-trusting wolves or their pups would be "easier for early humans to kidnap & rear".

I thought he meant that naively-trusting modern wolves [the Arctic subspecies] would be better models for dog-domestication, or at least some semblance of dog-similar behaviors if they were reared from puphood now, as wolf-pups from other, natively-suspicious wolf-popns have been, for research purposes.
I'll have to re-read the blog.
Yes, that was the main point of the blog post. He does however start by saying he doesn't agree with Coppinger's hypothesis of self-domestication, and goes on to talk about how curious some wolves are about humans (those that are naive about humans and come from populations isolated from humans). To me, he seems to be subtly arguing for the hypothesis of purposeful domestication, which is not one that I agree with.

I guess in short, I think he's not completely uneducated about the subject and seems to have some familiarity with natural history, I don't think it's a worthless argument, I'm just not wild about the blog post itself. I do tend to be over-critical of these things. I'm definitely viewing it from a different perspective as the general population, and probably holding it to unrealistic academic standards. It's also not a new argument to me, and I feel that Bradshaw makes it better, so that definitely influences my reading of it.
leashedForLife likes this.
Moonstream is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply



Tags
dog behavior, dog domestication, modern wolves, wolf behavior, wolf persecution

Thread Tools
Display Modes


Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:09 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging v3.1.0 (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd. Runs best on HiVelocity Hosting.