The Wolf Inside The Dog

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Flip, a husky-shepherd mix, is genetically no closer to a wolf than a basset hound.

From Pomeranians to poodles, our dogs are descended from one ancestor, the wolf, and the origin of our canine friends is still a hotly debated topic among the scientific set. Researchers are now offering proof that the wolf began his journey to tameness long before previously thought. One theory of how wolves began to hang around humans purports that they largely did it themselves when early man abandoned his hunting and gathering ways and moved to village and farm life. Wolves with higher tolerance to the presence of humans and lower flight responses saw opportunity at the garbage dumps just outside of town. These wolves had less of a need to plan and execute complex hunting strategies, thus their long, keen noses began to shorten, and their brains and huge canine teeth shrank a bit. Paws got smaller too, since the need for speed over deep snow changed to nimbly picking their way up Mt. Trashmore.

Read the entire article in September/October 2012 issue

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