I showed this video today as an intro to my 8-week "mini-course" on Canine Cognition.
In it, narrator John Lithgow presents two slightly different versions of the dog domestication story. The first version is essentially the Belyaev story: young wolves would be adopted into the camps of early humans. Only those who were most tame would breed with eachother, and over many generations, the domestic dog would emerge. The second is the version in which wolves "chose" to be domesticated - they noticed a lot of tasty trash around human encampments, and if they were unafraid enough to hang around, they got to eat lots of leftovers, and those individuals would mate, and over generations, the domestic dog would emerge.
The two stories have quite a bit of similarities, but still have a few critical differences.
Based on what you've read on this blog so far, and elsewhere, which do you think is the more likely scenario?
As a bonus, here's my favorite John Lithgow scene, ever (Third Rock from the Sun, Season 1, Episode 1).
The views expressed are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Jason G. Goldman is a science journalist based in Los Angeles. He has written about animal behavior, wildlife biology, conservation, and ecology for Scientific American, Los Angeles magazine, the Washington Post, the Guardian, the BBC, Conservation magazine, and elsewhere. He contributes to Scientific American's "60-Second Science" podcast, and is co-editor of Science Blogging: The Essential Guide (Yale University Press). He enjoys sharing his wildlife knowledge on television and on the radio, and often speaks to the public about wildlife and science communication. Follow Jason G. Goldman on Twitter