London foxes showed signs of domestication

Life in the city made London the foxes muzzle shorter and wider and also reduced their brains. Similar signs observed in Pets, including the famous domesticated foxes from the experiment of Soviet geneticists. According to scientists, article which was published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, change of lifestyle and the anatomy of the urban populations of foxes I can tell you how he passed the first stages of domestication of dogs.

The Soviet experiment on the domestication of common foxes (Vulpes Vulpes) remains one of the most famous in evolutionary biology. In 1959, a team of researchers from Novosibirsk led by geneticist Dmitry Belyaev began to select among cubs silver breeds the most tolerant person individuals. 50 generations later, the foxes behavior began to resemble dogs. Moreover, even their appearance has acquired a resemblance to the dog in the painting has white spots, the ears are drooping, and the tail is curled up. Study of domesticated foxes is still going on — for example, a few years ago they had identified the gene responsible for the friendliness.

It is believed that the Belyaev experiment may explain how they were domesticated dogs. However, it should be recognized that it is not too well reproduces the early stages of this process. Wolves that have learned to live alongside humans and which gave rise to the first dogs, hardly acting like the animals of animal farm. Rather, their behavior resembled the habits of modern urban foxes who have learned not to be afraid of people and eat food waste.

A team of zoologists led by Kevin Parsons (Kevin J. Parsons) from the University of Glasgow decided to find out how life next to the person affected the London population of foxes, the number of which exceeds ten thousand individuals. To do this, they compared the morphological characteristics of the skulls of 75 foxes from London and 36 their relatives from the surrounding city rural areas. They were collected in 1971-1973.

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