Video: Dogs Decoded - The Genetic Origin of Dogs and Their Empathy with Humans
I watched this a couple of nights ago. If you have the opportunity and an hour to spare, this show about dogs and their relationship to man, going back centuries, is well worth your time.
Full program description:
“Dogs Decoded” reveals the science behind the remarkable bond between humans and their dogs and investigates new discoveries in genetics that are illuminating the origin of dogs—with surprising implications for the evolution of human culture. Other research is proving what dog lovers have suspected all along: Dogs have an uncanny ability to read and respond to human emotions. Humans, in turn, respond to dogs with the same hormone responsible for bonding mothers to their babies. How did this incredible relationship between humans and dogs come to be? And how can dogs, so closely related to fearsome wild wolves, behave so differently?
Near the beginning, there are some very interesting eye signal experiments.
If you watch through, at the end they reference an experiment started in Russia 50 years ago, where they selected fox pups for lack of fear and aggression toward humans, and bred those pups. Within a few generations, they had become quite tame and cuddly, and not only that, their coloring began to change (became more “dog-like”) and other physical characteristics changed as well (their tails became shorter and pointed in a different direction). It was quite the eye-opener.
As part of the same experiment, they selected pups that were quite aggressive, and kept breeding those. Within a few generations those pups had become monster-like in their aggressive behavior.
They also placed aggressive pups with tame moms (and vice-versa). The pups retained their genetically coded behavior (aggressive or tame), rather than taking on the mom’s behavior.
Anyhoo - very very interesting show; worth a watch (and in my case, worth a re-watch!).