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The domestication of the russian silver fox. (40 year fast track evolution)
internet ^ | (10/29/02 3:59:34 pm) | dj

Posted on 12/16/2002 6:21:39 PM PST by dennisw

click here to read article


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1 posted on 12/16/2002 6:21:40 PM PST by dennisw
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To: dennisw
*sigh* No pictures...
2 posted on 12/16/2002 6:39:52 PM PST by null and void
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To: dennisw
I did not read any of your post, but my dog goes crazy when he hears a door bell on TV and starts barking and acting like someone is at our door. The funny thing is that my house does not and has not during the dog's lifetime had a working doorbell. Do you know why this is?
3 posted on 12/16/2002 6:47:22 PM PST by TBall
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To: dennisw
I had a pet fox when I was a kid. They are the most delightful animals in the world and it would be wonderful to have a naturally affectionate, domestic-bred one. If there were any way I could get my hands on a pet fox again or could afford to do so I'd love it.

How horribly sad to think of these dear, enchanting animals, who love and trust people, being sold for fur-farming! I have nothing against fur-farming, meat-eating, or hunting (I wear fox fur, eat meat, and ride to hounds myself) but this is like selling the family cat or dog for its fur.

4 posted on 12/16/2002 6:51:20 PM PST by Capriole
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To: null and void

Only found this one. Saw another many years back in the Smithsonian Magazine (back when it was worth reading). Showed a droopy eared fox colored like a spaniel.

Amazing was intelligent intervention can do.

5 posted on 12/16/2002 6:52:20 PM PST by FormerLib
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To: dennisw; PatrickHenry; Quila; Rudder; donh; VadeRetro; RadioAstronomer; Travis McGee; Physicist; ...
((((((growl)))))



6 posted on 12/16/2002 6:54:06 PM PST by Sabertooth
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To: dennisw
Re #1

This is a great article which can provide insight even into human evolution. I wonder if humans also evolved for the tamability, that is, the enhanced ability of social interaction.

7 posted on 12/16/2002 6:56:56 PM PST by TigerLikesRooster
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To: Sabertooth
Thanks for the wide spectrum ping. I wish I knew how to ping the crevo list.
8 posted on 12/16/2002 6:57:00 PM PST by dennisw
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To: Melas
Here is what you posted about.
9 posted on 12/16/2002 6:59:26 PM PST by dennisw
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To: TBall
Kind of smack your lips and whistle at the same time that you snap your fingers. Your dog will jump up, wag his tail, take a short run and leap into your arms.

Do you know why that is?

10 posted on 12/16/2002 7:01:11 PM PST by muawiyah
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To: dennisw
I saw something about this recently on a program that was either on Animal Planet or Discovery Channel. The playfulness of these foxes as they interacted with humans and dogs was very appealing. Often as they ran, their tales undulated behind them like that of squirrels.



11 posted on 12/16/2002 7:02:23 PM PST by Sabertooth
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To: dennisw
I read about this one in Smithsonian magazine more than ten years ago.

If memory serves, 30 or so years (at that time) of intensive breeding to produce more tractable sable foxes had come up with small doglike creatures, with spotted coats that were commercially worthless.

I'm not sure what, if anything, this proves but it was interesting reading.

12 posted on 12/16/2002 7:06:08 PM PST by LibKill
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To: LibKill
I too remember reading how domesticating foxes was producing worthless pelts and had to laugh at the way the foxes were "fighting" back.
13 posted on 12/16/2002 7:13:47 PM PST by Let's Roll
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To: VadeRetro; jennyp; Junior; longshadow; *crevo_list; RadioAstronomer; Scully; Piltdown_Woman; ...
[This ping list for the evolution -- not creationism -- side of evolution threads, and sometimes for other science topics. If you want to be included, or dropped, let me know.]
14 posted on 12/16/2002 7:29:15 PM PST by PatrickHenry
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To: Capriole
Contact them and see if you can buy a pup.
15 posted on 12/16/2002 7:55:06 PM PST by rmlew
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To: dennisw
Foxes are closer kin to cats that they are to dogs. Btw, interesting article thanks.
16 posted on 12/16/2002 8:04:36 PM PST by blam
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To: PatrickHenry
Thanks for the Ping.

But, don't you know that Evolution has been disproven?

Domestication of an animal through selective traits or survival of a certain trait is impossible, don't you know that, why it's common knowledge at the Blueman's school!! /sarcasm off
17 posted on 12/16/2002 8:07:44 PM PST by Aric2000
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To: dennisw
Great article. I never knew it was possible to create such a breed. I do hope the researchers get the funding they need to continue their work and begin selling these pups as pets. I wonder how much each pup can be purchased and what special diets, shots and care they will need?
18 posted on 12/16/2002 8:24:26 PM PST by Edward Watson
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To: FormerLib
Awwwwwww!
19 posted on 12/16/2002 8:42:09 PM PST by null and void
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To: dennisw
This demonstrates part of the evolutionary process namely; The mechanics of selection and how a single pressure can have a multiple (polygenetic) effect. This is perhaps lot more important than some may realise. Not speciation btw but perhaps part of the that pocess.

Multiply a bit of selective pressure by unyielding environmental flux and random genetic mutations over time and it is no wonder that a small shrew-like, arboreal creature could give rise to a large terrestrial bipedal form with a propensity for language and abstract thought.

20 posted on 12/16/2002 8:48:05 PM PST by stanz
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To: null and void
*sigh* No pictures...


21 posted on 12/16/2002 9:04:47 PM PST by AndrewC
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To: AndrewC
I meant of the domestic silver fox, not


22 posted on 12/16/2002 9:07:51 PM PST by null and void
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To: TigerLikesRooster
This is a great article which can provide insight even into human evolution.

So long as you accept an intelligent outside influence!

Unless you are suggesting that Balyaev and his lab techs weren't intelligent!

23 posted on 12/16/2002 9:24:33 PM PST by FormerLib
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To: Aric2000
But, don't you know that Evolution has been disproven?

You mean without an intelligent guide! You are correct, sir! /Reality unchanged! LOL! ;-)

24 posted on 12/16/2002 9:27:04 PM PST by FormerLib
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Comment #25 Removed by Moderator

To: FormerLib
Re #23

Actually I think that some environmental pressure coupled with some accidents made protohumans evolve into more tame creatures with arrested juvenile traits.

Intelligent design can accelerate this kind of evolution drastically. And the result will be much clear to observers. Intelligent design has just made the process more efficient.

26 posted on 12/16/2002 9:34:37 PM PST by TigerLikesRooster
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To: BKT
Re #25

For somebody who wants more smart discussion, you do not sound all that smart.:)

27 posted on 12/16/2002 9:37:39 PM PST by TigerLikesRooster
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To: FormerLib
Actually, they pushed a trait, just as an environment would. They created an environment unfreindly to untamed animals, those that were tamable were able to reproduce, those that were not, did not.

The environment around a creature will do the same thing. if it gets colder, those with warmer furs will survive to reproduce, if it gets warmer, those with less fur will reproduce. Climate changes are NOT sudden, this would give the animals PLENTY of time to evolve to the changing environment that they lived in.

Intelligence is NOT necessary for changes to take place, environmental changes are all that is necessary.

In order to experiment, the experiment MUST be controlled, or the answers will not be at all reliable.

This experiment indeed shows that when a trait is pushed, it will reproduce and those with that trait will survive.

Evolution, on a very small controlled scale, but it IS evolution.
28 posted on 12/16/2002 9:48:41 PM PST by Aric2000
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To: BKT
LOL, wow, another Facts are myth and myths are fact.

They just seem to jump out of the woodwork when a scientific article gets posted.

If your religion can't handle it, maybe it's time to find a new religion. Huh?
29 posted on 12/16/2002 9:51:33 PM PST by Aric2000
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To: TigerLikesRooster
RE #23, #26

By Intelligent design, I meant experimental control. Not the work of God.:)

30 posted on 12/16/2002 9:52:54 PM PST by TigerLikesRooster
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To: null and void
Oops, sorry. Here.


31 posted on 12/16/2002 9:54:34 PM PST by AndrewC
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To: TigerLikesRooster
I knew what you meant!! I actually read ALL your posts!! LOL ;)
32 posted on 12/16/2002 9:56:55 PM PST by Aric2000
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To: Aric2000; TigerLikesRooster
Actually, they pushed a trait...

In an intelligently directed manner, yes.

...just as an environment would.

Really? Can you prove that?

They created an environment unfreindly to untamed animals, those that were tamable were able to reproduce, those that were not, did not.

Actually, that's not correct. Those that seemed tameable were intelligently selected and then their offspring were monitored. Can you point to the part of the article that deals with how those not selected were treated?

No, you cannot. You made assumptions about them.

The environment around a creature will do the same thing. if it gets colder, those with warmer furs will survive to reproduce, if it gets warmer, those with less fur will reproduce. Climate changes are NOT sudden, this would give the animals PLENTY of time to evolve to the changing environment that they lived in.

Yes, animals will adapt to changing conditions. They do not change into other animals, however.

Intelligence is NOT necessary for changes to take place, environmental changes are all that is necessary.

That was not proved in this experiment, which included intelligent intervention and selection. Unless you are suggesting that Balyaev and his lab assistants were without intellience?

Evolution, on a very small controlled scale, but it IS evolution.

Not even close. The effects of intelligent selection on breeding were shown here. Nothing more.

33 posted on 12/16/2002 9:59:14 PM PST by FormerLib
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To: Aric2000
If your religion can't handle it, maybe it's time to find a new religion. Huh?

That certainly seems to describe what you have done!

34 posted on 12/16/2002 10:01:22 PM PST by FormerLib
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To: TigerLikesRooster
By Intelligent design, I meant experimental control. Not the work of God.

Yes, but God is not impressed by your opinion!

35 posted on 12/16/2002 10:02:43 PM PST by FormerLib
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To: BKT
This site is for smart people, not those who pretend to be...

Well, until Jim Rob perfect his "unthinking leftist/gay/atheist/psuedo-intellectual" filter, some of them will keep slipping in here!

Trust me, I've met some of these losers before. Don't let them get your Irish up!

36 posted on 12/16/2002 10:05:46 PM PST by FormerLib
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To: FormerLib
another facts as myth, and myths as fact.

They really come out of the woodwork, if you don't like the TRUE facts, then stay out of the thread.
37 posted on 12/16/2002 10:07:52 PM PST by Aric2000
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To: dennisw
Something to read as you continue to whistle past the graveyard:

The scientist's religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection. =@(Iain, 1982, 57)

"I defend the Good God against the idea of a continuous game of dice." (Speziali, 1972, 361)

[EINSTEIN]

Psa.14:1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

38 posted on 12/16/2002 10:09:54 PM PST by razorbak
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To: dennisw
That sort of experiment might be easier to do in Russia than here. Several kinds of animals including foxes and bears have had long ages to get used to dealing with peasants and farmers there.
39 posted on 12/16/2002 10:10:01 PM PST by titanmike
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To: FormerLib
Well, until Jim Rob perfect his "unthinking leftist/gay/atheist/psuedo-intellectual" filter, some of them will keep slipping in here!

Yes, I see, so if you think and talk about the theory of evolution as a scientific theory, then you must be Leftist/gay/atheist/pseudo-intellectual. Hmm, that's awfully christian of you.

I thought racists were ignorant, they don't have a thing on fundamentalists.

I think very well, thank you/I am a constitutionalist /married with 3 children/believe in god/and am not pseudo anything. So the filter would obviously not work on me, and therefore these threads would exist anyway.

Lifes a bitch, ain't it?
40 posted on 12/16/2002 10:20:59 PM PST by Aric2000
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To: razorbak
"I defend the Good God against the idea of a continuous game of dice." (Speziali, 1972, 361) [EINSTEIN]

Not that Einstein believed in a personal God or an afterlife or anything like that. He was more of a pantheist.

But don't let that stop you from quote-mining to make it appear that more people support you than really do.

Psa.14:1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

And that has what to do with the discussion?
41 posted on 12/16/2002 11:02:55 PM PST by Dimensio
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To: FormerLib
Actually, that's not correct. Those that seemed tameable were intelligently selected and then their offspring were monitored. Can you point to the part of the article that deals with how those not selected were treated?

Yes, I can, they were not allowed to breed.

Yes, animals will adapt to changing conditions. They do not change into other animals, however.

Really? PROVE it!!

Not even close. The effects of intelligent selection on breeding were shown here. Nothing more.

Really? and falling down doesn't prove that gravity exists either.... geez, what an intellect you have...
42 posted on 12/16/2002 11:32:18 PM PST by Aric2000
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To: PatrickHenry
pedomorphosis,the retention of juvenile traits by adults.

Wow! I know a few people afflicted with this... ;-)

43 posted on 12/17/2002 2:55:21 AM PST by Aracelis
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To: AndrewC

Evolution and Domestication:
Selection on Developmental Genes?

Price (1984) defined domestication as "a process by which a population of animals becomes adapted to man and the captive environment, by some combination of genetic changes occurring over generations and environmentally induced developmental events recurring during each generation." Domesticated animals differ significantly from animals in the wild. There appears to be a suite of characteristics that accompany domestication, and these characteristics have be linked to pedomorphosis--the retention of juvenile characteristics in the adult body (Coppinger and Smith, 1983; Price, 1984; Morey, 1994).

When one thinks about domestication, the case of dogs becomes paramount. The dog was probably the first animal to be domesticated (although some anthropologists have said that humans, themselves, actually deserve this title). Indeed, we shouldn't even call these animals dogs, since Canis familiaris (the scientific name for dog) is more a name of convenience than that denoting a real species (see Isaac, 1970). The actual name might be Canis lupus, the wolf. Wolves and dogs can interbreed, and the morphological differences between wolves and dogs are certainly as close as that between the different dog types (such as Great Dane, French poodle, and Chihuahua). Perhaps the dogs we are dealing with are Canis lupus familiaris, a subspecies of the wolf.

Many arguments about domestication (see Morey, 1994) focus on the notion of intentionality. That is to say, did humans select the traits they wanted (human intention), or did humans merely provide a new ecological niche that the wolves exploited ("self domestication")? In the latter scenario, (Zeuner, 1963; Coppinger and Smith, 1983) the wolves that became dogs may have started out as scavengers around human camp sites who became accustomed to human handouts. Such debates focus more on what it is to be human (as a manipulator of nature) than on what it is to be a dog. There probably was a reciprocal relationship (something that any dog "owner" can tell us about) between wolves finding a new niche and humans finding a furry friend and helper. Both natural selection and artificial selection may have contributed to wolf domestication.

So whether by human intention or niche exploitation, some wolves have become dogs. How did this occur? In becoming domesticated, wolves have undergone numerous morphological, physiological, and behavioral changes. Morey (1994) finds a common factor in pedomorphosis. The adult dog has retained many of the phenotypic traits of the juvenile wolf. The skulls are broad for their length, and juvenile behavioral traits such as whining, barking, and submissiveness, are retained in the adult dog. Morey considers pedomorphosis as a by-product of natural selection for early sexual maturity and small body size that would increase the fitness of wolves in exploiting a new ecological niche.

Interestingly, the constellation of pedomorphic behaviors and morphologies is also seen in the domestication of other animals. These morphological changes include: the appearance of dwarf or giant varieties, piebald coat colors, curly tails, shortened tails with fewer vertebrae, and floppy ears. Physiological changes also occur as both herbivores and carnivores are domesticated. The most notable of these involves changes in the reproductive cycles that end the yearly estrus. Behavioral changes mostly involve tameness, a suite of characteristics that make the animal docile and malleable to human intentions. Moreover, these changes appear to be inherited.

In the 1950s, Dmitry Belyaev of the Soviet Union's Institute of Cytology and Genetics in Novosibirsk, Siberia, began testing a hypothesis to look at whether selection for a behavioral trait--tamability--could bring with it the morphological and physiological traits associated with domestication and pedomorphosis. He postulated that if human intention was involved, humans would have selected their wolves for tameness, whatever that was. Since tameness and aggression were probably regulated by hormones, then selecting for tameness and against aggression would mean selecting for physiological variants as well. The physiological variants, in turn, might be those associated with the retention of juvenile traits (see Belyaev, 1979; Trut, 1999).

Belyaev and his colleagues decided to initiate a breeding program that would strongly select tamability and see what happened to the biological phenotype after several generations. He chose as his test animal a species close to the wolf, namely the silver fox, Vulpes vulpes, an animal never before domesticated. The experiment began with 30 male foxes and 100 vixen from a commercial fur farm. (Such animals had been bred without conscious selection for over 50 years, so these were already foxes that survived in caged conditions). The criteria for tamability were very strict. Only about 5% of the males and 20% of the females are selected to breed. The foxes were not trained, so the major component of their tameness should be genetic. Tameness was measured by the ability of young, sexually mature foxes to behave in a friendly manner to their handlers, wagging their tales and whining. Eventually, a "domesticated elite" classification arose--these were the foxes that actually sought to establish human contact, licking the scientists like dogs would. By the tenth generation, 18 percent of the young foxes were in this elite category. By the twentieth generation, 35% were in this category. Today, over forty years after the breeding had begun, these domesticated foxes comprise from 70-80% of the test population.

Figure 1. Changes taking place during domestication. (A) Changes in the foxes’ coat color were the first novel traits noted, appearing in the eighth to tenth selected generations. In a fox homozygous for the Star gene, large areas of depigmentation similar to those in some dog breeds are seen. (B) Tame foxes enjoy and seek out human contact. (From Belyaev, 1979.) Permission obtained from Oxford University Press.

 

Physical and physiological changes

After 40 years and over 30 generations of selection, has the physical nature of the population changed? The most obvious physiological changes involved corticosteroids. In wild foxes, the levels of corticosteroids, hormones involved in adaptation to stress, rise sharply between the age of 2-4 months, reaching adult levels by 8 months of age. The domesticated wolves had their corticosteroid surge significantly later. The domesticated foxes have a much lower adrenal response to stress, and they have more serotonin in their blood. Other physical changes produced by selection for tamability were the constellation of characters associated with domestication: regional depigmentation, floppy ears, and rolled tails. Belyaev claimed that the finding of the same suite of morphological changes in different types of domesticated animals selected for different traits (milk production, wool quality, strength, etc.), by different groups of people, argued that this was not just an artifact of the gene pool of these particular 130 foxes but was the common outcome of selecting for this behavioral trait (Trut, 1988, 1999).

By selecting for a behavioral trait associated with juveniles, Belyaev's group may have selected for those animals whose growth rates were such that pedomorphism would result. Floppy ears, for instance, are characteristics found in newborn wolves, and even the coat pigmentation patterns may be due to the selection of certain genes. The gene Star controls is involved in the timing of melanoblast migration in foxes (Belyaev et al., 1981; Trut, 1996). Certain alleles of this gene appear to have been selected and give the piebald pigmentation patterns in the adults. Skull size has also changed to a more juvenile condition--but not by selecting directly for size but for behavior.

The domestic fox is not yet a domestic wolf. It has not gotten to the point of domestication that we associate with dogs. However, in only 40 years, the fox has been domesticated by this group to such a degree that they can be sold as pets. Indeed, this might become their fate, as funds for these and other experiments in the former Soviet Union are in jeopardy, and there were no funds allocated last year for the feeding of these animals.

For more information click here.

Literature Cited

Belyaev, D. K. 1979. Destabilizing selection as a factor in domestication. J. Hered. 70: 301-308.

Belyaev, D. K. , Ruvinsky, A. O., and Trut, L. N. 1981. Inherited activation/inactivation of the star gene in foxes. J. Hered. 72: 264-274.

Coppinger, R. P, and Smith, C. K. 1983. The domestication of evolution. Environ. Conserv. 10, 283-292.

Isaac, E. 1970. Geography of Domestication. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

Morey, D. F. 1994. The early evolution of the domestic dog. Amer. Sci. 82: 336-347.

Price, E. 0. 1984. Behavioral aspects of animal domestication. Q. Rev. Biol. 59: 1-32.

Trut, L. N. 1988. The variable rates of evolution transformations and their parallelism in terms of destabilizing selection. J. Animal Breeding and Genet. 105: 81-90.

Trut, L. N. 1996. Sex ratio in silver foxes: effects of domestication and the star gene. Theoret. Appl. Genet. 92: 109-115.

Trut, L. M. 1999. Early canid domestication: the farm-fox experiment. Amer. Sci. 87: 160-168.

Zeuner, F. E. 1963. A History of Domesticated Animals. Harper & Row, New York.

 

44 posted on 12/17/2002 3:44:23 AM PST by dennisw
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To: FormerLib
Amazing was intelligent intervention can do.

Turn foxes into juvenile, whimpering, whining mutants with an innate inability to survive on their own and a willingness to accept periodic culling of their brethren? In other words, they took something beautiful, fierce and independent and turned it into a democrat... a communist wet dream, since communists had always wanted to breed truly domestic humans, a dream known as the 'new communist man.'

Someone notify me when they can, through selective breeding, turn a fox into a badger.

45 posted on 12/17/2002 4:02:05 AM PST by piasa
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To: Aric2000
Amazing how this thread, with a delightful article about breeding domesticated foxes, has flushed out so many sick, demended, anti-rational whackos.
46 posted on 12/17/2002 4:14:46 AM PST by PatrickHenry
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To: dennisw
bump for later
47 posted on 12/17/2002 4:21:58 AM PST by Varda
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To: PatrickHenry
For what it's worth I believe in God, I don't buy the story that evolution accounts for all development. This fox experiment though is a good example of evolution is action in a distinct time and place. Human intervention is selecting here for tame/docile foxes. Nature's intervention would achieve the same results. This intervention could be a swift new predator in the fox's neighborhood that weeds out (kills) (selects against) the slower foxes.
48 posted on 12/17/2002 4:26:43 AM PST by dennisw
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To: Aric2000
You ask me to prove a negative and then you question my intellect?
49 posted on 12/17/2002 5:35:10 AM PST by FormerLib
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To: piasa
In other words, they took something beautiful, fierce and independent and turned it into a democrat... a communist wet dream...

ROTFLMAO!

50 posted on 12/17/2002 5:36:13 AM PST by FormerLib
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