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  #31  
Old 06-29-2011, 03:51 PM
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Well put Shakou. Every organism finds it's niche, an environment where it is able to adapt, thrive, reproduce and pass on it's genes. The niche with humans has been advantageous to dogs and has allowed them to evolve. I think comparing intelligence is almost beside the point. Of course different animals are going to vary in their talents.
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  #32  
Old 06-30-2011, 02:02 PM
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I think my use of the words "dumbed down" was misunderstood. My dog, Charlotte, was a street dog for God knows how long down in Nashville, TN and survived the floods when it happened, and when she got sick of life on her own, she found my husband and stuck with him. CLEARLY dogs are very intelligent. What I was referring to by being "dumbed down" was their disorganized, scattered social skills with canines in comparison to wolves. Though that may be because they are more human social then pack social.
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  #33  
Old 06-30-2011, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Shakou View Post
I think my use of the words "dumbed down" was misunderstood. My dog, Charlotte, was a street dog for God knows how long down in Nashville, TN and survived the floods when it happened, and when she got sick of life on her own, she found my husband and stuck with him. CLEARLY dogs are very intelligent. What I was referring to by being "dumbed down" was their disorganized, scattered social skills with canines in comparison to wolves. Though that may be because they are more human social then pack social.
Dog social structure is honestly a lot closer to coyote social structure than wolf. Honestly I don't buy that they are descended from wolves either. I think they are very closely related, share a common ancestor, and some more recent lines of dog have had wolf blood infused in the past few hundred years (german shepherds for one) but for the most part they are descended from wild dogs. Probably a now extinct species.

When domestic animals go feral, they revert to look like their parent species within a few generations. You see it in cats, hogs, cattle, horses, etc. But there has never been a population of feral dogs that reverted back to looking remotely wolf-like. They all turn into red/yellow pariah dogs with prick ears, like dingos, carolina dogs, caanan dogs, etc.

The ability to survive I think is in great part learned. Locally we have Wolf Haven. They are part of the species survival plan for mexican red and grey wolves. Even though the wolves they raise are pure wolf, and they do their best to teach them how to survive on their own, a certain number who are released are never able to adapt fully and learn to do it on their own before they die.
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  #34  
Old 06-30-2011, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Romy View Post
Dog social structure is honestly a lot closer to coyote social structure than wolf. Honestly I don't buy that they are descended from wolves either. I think they are very closely related, share a common ancestor, and some more recent lines of dog have had wolf blood infused in the past few hundred years (german shepherds for one) but for the most part they are descended from wild dogs. Probably a now extinct species.

When domestic animals go feral, they revert to look like their parent species within a few generations. You see it in cats, hogs, cattle, horses, etc. But there has never been a population of feral dogs that reverted back to looking remotely wolf-like. They all turn into red/yellow pariah dogs with prick ears, like dingos, carolina dogs, caanan dogs, etc.
Do you have a study to back that up? Because there are loads of studies saying the opposite.

Dollo's Law posits that an organism is unable to return, even partially, to a previous stage already realized in the ranks of its ancestors. Once a trait has been genetically "lost" it has an infinitesimally small chance (if at all) to reappear further down the evolutionary line.

Sorry, bit of a science nerd here.
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  #35  
Old 06-30-2011, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Romy View Post
Dog social structure is honestly a lot closer to coyote social structure than wolf. Honestly I don't buy that they are descended from wolves either. I think they are very closely related, share a common ancestor, and some more recent lines of dog have had wolf blood infused in the past few hundred years (german shepherds for one) but for the most part they are descended from wild dogs. Probably a now extinct species.
I really want to believe this, I think it fits a lot of what we (think we) know/observe about dog behavior, but so far the science hasn't seemed to back that up. Ethologically, dogs and wolves are very different (just ask anyone who's worked with wolfdogs!) but physiologically they're quite similar, once you account for the plasticity of phenotype. Isn't that basically the argument made for feeding raw? I'm not satisfied that the current understanding of the origin of dogs answers every question, but canis lupus familiaris fits the evidence we have right now.
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  #36  
Old 06-30-2011, 03:32 PM
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This guy has a pretty comprehensive blog on the subject with peer reviewed references.

Darren Naish: Tetrapod Zoology: Controversial origins of the domestic dog

Have you seen the Russian domestic fox experiment? They were able to cause significant phenotypical changes in the foxes consistent with changes found in other domestic animals (white facial blazes, drop ears, shortened muzzles, curled tails, etc.) in only 40 years simply by breeding for calmness. In breeding for calmness, they decreased the amount of adrenalin reaching the developing fox embryos. It's very likely that had a huge impact on the way their genes are expressed and would explain why so many of the changes took place so quickly, and are also found in so many other domestic mammals. So it may be that domestic animals are not terribly different genetically than their forebears, just that the smaller amounts of adrenalin we have bred them to produce change how their genes are expressed.

Take for example, pigs. Here's a wild boar, with little to no domestic hog ancestry:


Here are feral hogs from Auckland Island, where they have been feral and isolated since people left them there in 1807.



Here's a link to a list of DNA studies done on feral animals. The ones on the Auckland pigs show that they are descended from purely domestic ancestors. Despite that, they were able to recover the phenotype of their wild ancestors when faced with surviving on their own.
DNA Studies of Rare Breeds

Last edited by Romy; 06-30-2011 at 03:39 PM. Reason: messed up a link
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  #37  
Old 06-30-2011, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Raegan View Post
I really want to believe this, I think it fits a lot of what we (think we) know/observe about dog behavior, but so far the science hasn't seemed to back that up. Ethologically, dogs and wolves are very different (just ask anyone who's worked with wolfdogs!) but physiologically they're quite similar, once you account for the plasticity of phenotype. Isn't that basically the argument made for feeding raw? I'm not satisfied that the current understanding of the origin of dogs answers every question, but canis lupus familiaris fits the evidence we have right now.
Yes, and IMO it's not that great of an argument. There's a thread on here from years ago about the raw argument and I posted in it. I tried to find it but I couldn't, because I remember I had a link to an article in there... scatology studies show the eating habits of coyotes and feral dogs to be far more similar than those of wolves and feral dogs. From a scientific/evolutionary standpoint, animals do what works. Wolves eat hardly any "plant" material because it doesn't do much for them. Coyotes and dogs both eat other material if it's available - in the Midwest they like corn (plenty of it!), but they also do berries and fruit. Wolves typically just don't go out and scavenge like this, even when they're starving - and most people agree that what small corn/berry content does show in their scat is usually "accidentally" consumed via the stomach/digestive contents of their meaty prey.

The same post I'm talking about also had quite a bit of scientific discussion about... crap, I forget the term now. But it's the same as how there has been a genetic link determined between apes and humans, meaning both species share an ancestor... not that apes ARE the ancestor, but that we both had one ancestor at one point back in our evolution, before the two species evolved separately. Dogs and wolves are the same. Science has determined both species share an ancestor, but that is NOT the same as "dogs evolved from wolves." (The guy posting completely misunderstood the science involved and kept insisting that sharing a same ancestor meant wolves ARE the ancestor...)

Personally I think there's a lot of weight to the argument that dogs and coyotes are far more similar than dogs and wolves, but that's just based on stuff I've read here and there and conversations I've had with animal science folks. I don't think there's a lot of interest in exploring that because for so long we've been beat over the head with "DOGS ARE EVOLVED FROM WOLVES" that nobody wants to be too divergent on that...


ETA: I do want to clarify that no matter wolf, coyote, or wild dog, all of these prefer meat, and none of it is cooked, therefore I think feeding raw is still a wonderful diet if done properly. The post I'm referencing above, IIRC, actually went beyond "dogs like meat" and into "adding fruit/veggies to your dog's diet is not only useless but HARMFUL." It's been a long time and I'm glad that post is buried deep, LOL.
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  #38  
Old 06-30-2011, 07:31 PM
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Coyotes and dogs both eat other material if it's available - in the Midwest they like corn (plenty of it!)


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Originally Posted by Beanie View Post
Science has determined [dogs and wolves] share an ancestor, but that is NOT the same as "dogs evolved from wolves." (The guy posting completely misunderstood the science involved and kept insisting that sharing a same ancestor meant wolves ARE the ancestor...)

Personally I think there's a lot of weight to the argument that dogs and coyotes are far more similar than dogs and wolves, but that's just based on stuff I've read here and there and conversations I've had with animal science folks. I don't think there's a lot of interest in exploring that because for so long we've been beat over the head with "DOGS ARE EVOLVED FROM WOLVES" that nobody wants to be too divergent on that...
I know it's gone back and forth and off to Oz a LOT. The latest I had heard was that animals functionally identically to the modern Indian Wolf hung out with cavemen and turned into dogs. Which is the exact opposite of what you're saying, that they shared a common ancestor.

Ugh, I'm going to have to go scientific study reading, aren't I? Gorramit, that stuff is so dense.

I do think the fact that feral/highly mixed dogs tend toward the Pariah dog type is very significant. Has there been any observations on that phenomena in a habitat that isn't suited to that type? Like, temperate forests or the tundra? Most of the places that I can think of off the top of my head that have a significant feral dog problem and see a convergence to Pariah-type are pretty arid: Central America, the US South, the Middle East.
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  #39  
Old 06-30-2011, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Raegan View Post
I do think the fact that feral/highly mixed dogs tend toward the Pariah dog type is very significant. Has there been any observations on that phenomena in a habitat that isn't suited to that type? Like, temperate forests or the tundra? Most of the places that I can think of off the top of my head that have a significant feral dog problem and see a convergence to Pariah-type are pretty arid: Central America, the US South, the Middle East.
I'm not sure. Part of that may be temperate areas worldwide are usually already inhabited by coyotes and wolves, who not only compete for the same ecological niche but also view dogs as potential mates/food. I'd guess a lot of the dogs that escape or are dumped to potentially establish a feral population are either eaten by their local wild canids or, more rarely, interbreed and are absorbed into the local population.

Temperate areas where wolves and other large predators who eat dogs are not common are usually full of humans, who prevent feral dog populations from being established.

If you've never looked into the Village Dog project, it's really fascinating. They're doing DNA testing on feral type primitive village dogs across all continents and comparing that with wild canids to get an idea of where they were domesticated, and from what, and how they spread around the world. So far it looks like there was more than one point of domestication.

Village Dog Project

Last edited by Romy; 06-30-2011 at 08:56 PM.
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  #40  
Old 06-30-2011, 10:20 PM
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I'm not sure that this is more than anecdotal evidence, but my uncle has quite a bit of land down in south Georgia and used to have a large amount of feral dogs living on it. People dump their dogs in the country, and they have to learn to survive on their own. What is interesting is that they all looked like dingo type dogs after awhile. He distinctly remembers when someone dumped a German Shepherd, and how he would see it hanging out with these other dogs beside the river, and when he was out checking his property.

He said a few years later, he would see black and tan dogs, but with the upright build the pariah dog has, and a much shorter coat. There were spotted white and red dogs, and I remember seeing a few take off when we surprised them by a deer carcass in the woods. There were about four of them, two looked fairly young, and they were black and white spotted, and a red/yellow one.


They ended up probably getting wiped out or close to it about five or six years ago when there was a particularly violent rabies outbreak. My uncle had to shoot a few of them and a few coyotes as well.

Anyway, it's all anecdotal, but it's mostly scrub forest where he has his property. He's planted and managed stands of pine trees for his retirement, and he has probably close to 800 acres of land to himself, and the chattahooche bisects part of his property, so it's all mostly wild except where his house sits. So, not sure if that's temperate or the forest type environment. It's not tundra, but it's different from the desert at any rate, and we do get some cold winters.
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