Tucked away in Siberia, there are furry, four-legged creatures with wagging tails and floppy ears that are as docile and friendly as any lapdog. But, despite appearances, these are not dogs - they are foxes. They are the result of the most astonishing experiment in breeding ever undertaken - imagine speeding up thousands of years of evolution into a few decades. In 1959, biologists Dmitri Belyaev and Lyudmila Trut set out to do just that, by starting with a few dozen silver foxes from fox farms in the USSR and attempting to recreate the evolution of wolves into dogs in real time.
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We humans have been domesticating animals for at least 10,000 years, and we’ve done so for a plethora of reasons. Pigs, cows and sheep give us food. Horses, yaks and water buffaloes provide transportation. Dogs and cats offer companionship and, sometimes, protection.
"What Floppy-Eared Foxes Taught Us About How Animals Become Tame" is from the May 31, 2017 Animalia section of The Washington Post. It was written by Lee Alan Dugatkin and narrated by Sam Scholl.
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