Evolution in action - Russian domestic silver fox
You guys with Discovery channel surely know this for years, but I found it out recently by coincidence.
So this Russian scientist Dimitri Belyaev bred a new kind of a fox, which looks and behaves like a dog, maybe even better! I love this idea. I had seen some photos and videos, and they're very adorable and endearing. (and also without their strong fox smell) I'm glad that I didn't know about this scientific experiment when I was a kid, I'd be an awful sod for looong, looong time, or until I'd get one. In fact, a tame or domestic fox as a pet is my childhood dream, which now became possible. I don't like dogs yapping and cats are often too loud as well, but this fox miracle looks like it's best of them.
While I won't ever be able to get one (I've got two cats and no exotic animal license) I'd like to ask if anyone heard how is the research project going. I had read they had financial problems, and also some of the foxes obviously found a way to people's homes. I think this species needs to be preserved, there's a lot of good work behind them and kids likes them so much...
British writer and painter Benjamin Creme describes this kind of development in his books. He wrote, that certain old species are gradually being put out of existence, (so they're as good as dead) but a human presence and activity has a huge influence on all animal species. By our effort, breeding techniques, genetic engineering and also psychologic and mental interaction, there will be created new animal species, accustomed to live and cooperate with human society. He mainly considered these, which are already close to humans, like dogs, horses, camels or elephants, but this domestic silver fox seems just like a first sign of that trend. It would be great if they'd became more widespread as pets.
But are these species in jeopardy? Is there enough of the domestic foxes in the world, or will we have to start that 40 years of (a bit cold-hearted if you ask me) work again? Is there some sort of their owners' union, where they can ensure a breeding out of the actual russian research facility?
Here are some videos:
And here's the scientific study and material:
(it should be a real study, including genetic maps)
I personally can hardly understand that effect. Yeah, decreased adrenaline also triggered the same physical changes as on other mammals, but where this tolerance and love for humans came from? There are animals, domesticated, tame or wild, which aren't afraid of us, but doesn't show nearly as much of interest.
For example, a roebuck, which decided to reside in wheat about 20 meters away from my grandma's greenhouse and come to frequently eat her lettuce and beans, even in daylight. Roes aren't tame nor domesticated, they may be accustomed to a sight of humans, but they never approach them. Why are canines different?
Isn't it something in human presence to stimulate a response in animals? Are we more like gods to them? Maybe yes, ancient cultures describes their gods in pretty much the same manner how do we now work with some animals, in good and bad ways. And many animals are obviously obedient. Like, for example, thou shalt not throw that computer off a table, kitty, or your god's wrath and a shoe shall smite upon you.
But I still don't get that thing with adrenaline, it's a response, right? So active friendliness of these animals can't be mistaken with a 'lack of agressive response'. Something had to happen with a brain stimuli, which evaluates a danger and causes the adrenaline to be produced.
Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.