Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

A mystery in black and white: Domesticated animals look - and act - differently ...
The Boston Globe ^ | 1/28/2003 | Cynthia Mills

Posted on 01/29/2003 8:38:42 AM PST by Prolixus

Edited on 04/13/2004 2:09:02 AM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]

Domesticated animals look - and act - differently from than their wild counterparts. Why?

The experiment was derived out of a discussion student Brian Hare had with his adviser, Michael Tomasello, an expert in primate behavior at Emory University. They were talking about how bad chimpanzees were at understanding human social cues. Despite being the heavyweights of animal intelligence, chimps were insensitive to what seemed to be obvious hints: They failed to pick up a cup hiding food even when the experimenter stared at it, pointed to it, and even tapped it. Tomasello wanted to talk about what this meant about the limits of nonhuman intelligence. Hare, a pet owner, had a down-to-Earth response: ''My dogs can do this.''


(Excerpt) Read more at boston.com ...


TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: agriculture; animalhusbandry; behavior; breeding; charlesdarwin; crevolist; dogs; genetics; godsgravesglyphs; helixmakemineadouble; intelligence; mansbestfriend

1 posted on 01/29/2003 8:38:43 AM PST by Prolixus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Prolixus
... a new way to look at how genetic change affects development.
2 posted on 01/29/2003 8:40:57 AM PST by Prolixus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Prolixus
Interesting. Thanks. I love new ways of looking at things.
3 posted on 01/29/2003 8:46:44 AM PST by patriciaruth
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Prolixus
Spotted and striped sheep!
4 posted on 01/29/2003 8:49:09 AM PST by bvw
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Prolixus
I always wondered if my tubby little black and white spotted terrier mutt had some Holstein in her.


5 posted on 01/29/2003 8:54:27 AM PST by EggsAckley
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Prolixus
Belyaev linked coat spots to the gene for a molecule called L-dopa. L-dopa is a building block for melanin, the pigment molecule. L-dopa is also necessary for the production of adrenaline, the hormone that turns on our flight-or-fight response. If activation of the L-dopa gene was delayed, the animal would have less melanin and less adrenaline. With less melanin, there would be white patches on the animal's coat. Less adrenaline would dampen the urge to fight or flee.

Some folks were attempting to cite these studies as proof of evolution when they clearly just prove the existence of recessive genetic traits.

6 posted on 01/29/2003 9:04:37 AM PST by FormerLib
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: patriciaruth
Interesting. Thanks. I love new ways of looking at things.

Heck, this is nothing new. Animal breeders have known about this stuff since forever.

For example, this is what dogbreedinfo.com has to say about the "Labradoodle": FAULTS: Yappy, highly strung, dominance/aggression, fearful/timid, aggressive toward other animals. Dogs showing any of these behaviors should not be bred.

IOW, you assume that the personality traits are inherited, and you take animals with bad traits out of the gene pool.

7 posted on 01/29/2003 9:10:53 AM PST by r9etb
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Prolixus
Lots of interesting stuff here. But I'm dubious about their conclusions re the chimp vs. dog picking up on "human cues" about the cup of food. It's not clear that human cues had anything to do with the dogs' success. Dogs have a sense of smell that is many, many times keener than that of chimps (ever heard of a bomb-sniffing chimp?), and would have little need for human cues to locate a cup of food in the same room, even if it's in a sealed container. Assuming they were well-trained dogs, I'll bet the only role of the human cues was to convince the dogs that they were allowed to go chow down the food, the existence and precise location of which they had known from the second they were brought into the garage. Silly humans, fooled by the doggies :)
8 posted on 01/29/2003 9:21:25 AM PST by GovernmentShrinker
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: centurion316
ping
9 posted on 01/29/2003 9:23:41 AM PST by centurion316
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: EggsAckley
Does not hold true across the board. I have two black and white cats; one is sweet, demure, and passive. The other, whose markings are totally "cow-like," we call Osama. If any of your appendages come within 6 inches of her, they will be flayed.
10 posted on 01/29/2003 9:48:43 AM PST by M. Thatcher
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Prolixus
Interesting article. I've read some theories that domestic dogs have, in effect, arrested development, and exhibit adolescent behavior through their adult life. Wolf cubs will play and romp, but they soon get over it as they go about the business of being grown-up preditors. Domestic dogs, however, will "play" into their old age, no doubt because such behavior is reinforced by humans who find it appealing, and because dogs exhibiting such behavior are more likely to be bred.


11 posted on 01/29/2003 9:51:41 AM PST by southernnorthcarolina (optional tag line, printed after my name)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: GovernmentShrinker
Is the world ready for spotted chimps?
12 posted on 01/29/2003 9:55:39 AM PST by Post Toasties
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Prolixus
I used to have a friend who was attempting to breed friendly rats. Her procedure was to pick the friendliest out of each litter, and breed them. The rest she got rid of (she told me she had a friend who raised snakes). The surprising thing was that the friendly rats had spotted coats, just like the friendly foxes. She had no detailed explanation, other than that the friendliness trait was somehow linked to fur color.
13 posted on 01/29/2003 10:05:25 AM PST by JoeFromSidney
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Post Toasties
Is the world ready for spotted chimps?

Do mean domesticated chimps? Cool!

Bonzo, get me a beer!

Bonzo, get me my slippers!

14 posted on 01/29/2003 10:05:29 AM PST by Prolixus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Prolixus
I enjoyed your post! Thank you.
15 posted on 01/29/2003 10:07:53 AM PST by Snowy (50% off)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Prolixus
"How many monkey butlers will there be?"
16 posted on 01/29/2003 10:13:10 AM PST by eno_
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: southernnorthcarolina
I love the weimar pic!

We have a seven-week old weimar pup right now. . who definitely likes to play. And a nine-year old maltese who is no better behaved than the weim.
17 posted on 01/29/2003 10:16:30 AM PST by twinzmommy (dogs not cats)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Prolixus
Do mean domesticated chimps? Cool!

Bonzo, get me a beer!

Bonzo, get me my slippers!

You will be the first against the wall when the chimp revolution comes!


18 posted on 01/29/2003 10:16:36 AM PST by KarlInOhio (Tagline.txt not found. Abort, Retry, Fail?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: balrog666; Condorman; *crevo_list; donh; general_re; Godel; Gumlegs; jennyp; longshadow; ...
Ping
19 posted on 01/29/2003 10:28:21 AM PST by Junior (Put tag line here =>)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Prolixus
Fennec foxes make good pets, if raised from birth.
20 posted on 01/29/2003 10:38:10 AM PST by Britton J Wingfield
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Prolixus
I guess this would explain why the nords, with their red and blond hair, and their blue and green eyes, have always been among the most calm and domestic of races.
21 posted on 01/29/2003 10:38:45 AM PST by Born to Conserve
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: KarlInOhio
Sure, Bonzo can probably outshoot me, but can he field strip and clean that sucker?
22 posted on 01/29/2003 10:42:02 AM PST by AngryJawa
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: Born to Conserve
I knew this was coming.

*coughVikingscough*
23 posted on 01/29/2003 10:46:26 AM PST by denydenydeny
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: Prolixus
Interesting post - thanks.
24 posted on 01/29/2003 10:49:32 AM PST by lodwick
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: r9etb
IOW, you assume that the personality traits are inherited, and you take animals with bad traits out of the gene pool.

This has implications beyond animal breeding, if you take a good look at our inner cities. The "bad boy" gangbangers are fathering more than their share of babies...

25 posted on 01/29/2003 11:36:56 AM PST by SauronOfMordor (To see the ultimate evil, visit the Democrat Party)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Junior
We had a good thread on the fox breeding expermiment, but I can't locate it. Here's an article on it: A new breed of fox.
26 posted on 01/29/2003 11:45:38 AM PST by PatrickHenry (Only fools read taglines!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: SauronOfMordor
This has implications beyond animal breeding, if you take a good look at our inner cities. The "bad boy" gangbangers are fathering more than their share of babies...

Well, yes. But that takes us directly to the concept of eugenics and social darwinism, and raises some disturbing questions about "unalienable rights."

27 posted on 01/29/2003 11:49:36 AM PST by r9etb
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: denydenydeny
Do Vikings have floppy ears?
28 posted on 01/29/2003 11:52:05 AM PST by Prolixus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: Prolixus

29 posted on 01/29/2003 11:53:11 AM PST by tang-soo
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: tang-soo
bttt
30 posted on 01/29/2003 12:25:34 PM PST by tang-soo
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: r9etb
"The 'bad boy' gangbangers are fathering more than their share of babies..." Well, yes. But that takes us directly to the concept of eugenics and social darwinism, and raises some disturbing questions about "unalienable rights."

The government has been engaged in a eugenics program for decades. By enabling single women to bear multiple children without any need to secure a husband who will be a stable source of support, and be a stable father for the children, the government has facilitated an experiment to see what happens when violent-but-"exciting" bad-boys become the dominent breeders in an area

31 posted on 01/29/2003 3:58:55 PM PST by SauronOfMordor (To see the ultimate evil, visit the Democrat Party)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: PatrickHenry
"With less melanin, there would be white patches on the animal's coat. Less adrenaline would dampen the urge to fight or flee. "

Does this mean that people with freckles are more mellow?

32 posted on 01/29/2003 5:38:51 PM PST by longshadow
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: longshadow
Does this mean that people with freckles are more mellow?

If we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys? (One good question deserves another.)

33 posted on 01/29/2003 6:53:55 PM PST by PatrickHenry
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: r9etb
What was new to me were two things.

That in the beginning the "domesticated" animals may have selected themselves by surviving because of human activity, like the wolves surviving on human waste/refuse, and humans didn't start from scratch when they began breeding animals.

That there may be some physical appearances that are linked to passivity, like white/spotted appearance and cowlick positioning.

That humans bred animals for traits they wanted is old news, but the two things above were new thoughts for me.

34 posted on 01/29/2003 7:37:29 PM PST by patriciaruth
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: patriciaruth
That humans bred animals for traits they wanted is old news, but the two things above were new thoughts for me.

I'm beginning to think about it this way: it suggests that genetic engineering for this trait may have unintended consequences for some other trait. If personality traits have physical implications, then the converse is probably true as well.

It makes me think that the general idea of genetic engineering on humans is probably a very bad idea.

35 posted on 01/30/2003 6:52:50 AM PST by r9etb
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: SauronOfMordor
The government has been engaged in a eugenics program for decades.

And the results of this program basically validate the morals and traditions that were disposed of by the libertine revolution of the '60s.

Traditions come about, and survive, for the simple reason that they reflect true knowledge, gained through experience, over the course of generations. They are not to be rejected lightly, even if we don't understand how they came about in the first place.

36 posted on 01/30/2003 6:58:10 AM PST by r9etb
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: twinzmommy

37 posted on 01/30/2003 7:53:01 AM PST by RedWhiteBlue
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: PatrickHenry
If we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?

Minkeys are businessmen. They pay no taxes. They control the zoo union.

38 posted on 01/30/2003 8:10:58 AM PST by johnny7 (Ungowa! Cheetah, ungowa!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: PatrickHenry
A pet fox might be cool. Wonder if you can housebreak them?
39 posted on 01/30/2003 8:48:11 AM PST by CobaltBlue
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]


 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
Note: this topic is dated 1/28/2003.

Blast from the Past.

Thanks Prolixus.

Just adding to the catalog, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.


40 posted on 03/03/2013 7:25:05 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson