Sunday, November 14, 2010

Siberian Silver Fox Study

A really neat and fascinating study conducted in Siberia to selectively breed foxes for domestication (as well as a batch for hyper-aggression). Within three generations, foxes born to the domestication group actively sought out human contact, even as babies. Within eight generations there were marked morphological differences, including different shape, coloration, and a general tendency to maintain juvenile traits longer, and in some cases indefinitely. Aggressive foxes raised by domesticated mothers showed no perceptible reduction in aggression from their natural parents, even when they were transplanted into the domesticated foxes as embryos.

I'm not a biological determinist in general, but this is a really neat, and seemingly solid study.

1 comment:

  1. This is something that's always wigged me out in discussions of dog breeding, like when they say certain breeds have traits like "soft bite" or "pull drive," all related to the jobs they were bred to do. You can breed a husky to have a strong inclination to pull things before it ever gets in front of a sled? You can breed a golden retriever not to pierce a duck with its teeth when it's bringing it back to you after you've shot it? That is creepy as all get out to me. DNA, you have terrifying implications.