Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Taming of the Fox

Here's an interesting article on the domestication of animals. Russian researchers, using only tolerance for human contact as a criterion, have successfully bred tame versions of foxes, rats, minks, and otters. (The foxes are very cute.) The genes for tameness may be the same in all mammals, which could have interesting implications for us as well:
Richard Wrangham, a primatologist at Harvard, has proposed that people are a domesticated form of ape, the domestication having been self-administered as human societies penalized or ostracized individuals who were too aggressive.
That reminds me a lot of the plot of this book. Maybe soon we'll be able to genetically profile for human tameness. What would that lead to?

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