No Imagination

I
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So, if you are a dog person (or even you crazy cat people), I highly recommend watching Nova’s: Dogs Decoded. I’ve been hearing about it, but only now watched it; and I actually learned quite a bit. What specifically surprised me was the study (over 50 years, and countless generations) researchers bred for tameness in (silver) foxes, and found that domestication was nearly (100%?) genetic. You have to watch the show to be really convinced, but they did quite a few controls to test for the nurture aspect of the argument (such as embryo transfer, and raising aggressive pups with tame mothers (to no avail). Another interesting point of the study was the morphological changes that accompany domestication. I am still not 100% convinced that there wasn’t soom bias to these traits from the human selection, but that’s not really as important.

My question; is there a future for foxes in domestic (US) homes? Anyone have or heard of anyone with any experience in this. Certainly not something I am interested in, but it does seem like its possible, and one thing I’ve seen are people’s fascination with keeping other social animals (Ferrets, raccoons, ect.) as pets.

Just wondering if this is a growing movement that I am just not aware of, or if it has just not taken hold.

P.S. This post is not intended to be a question concerning the legality or ethics of keeping a ‘wild’ animals or a vets ability to treat them.

P.P.S. I was trying to find the Nova online (PBS and all, I thought it would be available, but nope). Here is a 5 minute excerpt about the other side of the nature vs. nurture argument, where they tried to raise grey wolves as dogs. This is not at all what my post was about, but still interesting.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKhOoTns5iQ&feature=related
 

Willowhand

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For anyone who has Netflix, Dogs Decoded is available for Instant Watch :)
 

twelvetigers

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I watched it a while ago. :)

I also remember someone posing on the pre-vet forum about wanting to buy one of these foxes as a pet. I don't think any of us responded positively to that. The main point brought up is that, yes, they do seem tame, but how do you know for sure? You have them in your home with you and potentially with your other pets... they may be tame, but they are almost certainly still wild animals at the basic level (and much more so than for dogs, who have been tame for thousands of years and millions of generations). So, will something trigger them and they will go 'wild' again, out of fear or who knows what? I saw the "not tame" ones and man, those suckers look mean. Not sure I'd want that.

That, and we don't NEED more species as pets. Humans seem to think everything furry could double as a household companion. Okay, we have domestic cats and dogs plus a variety of rodents, so let's leave the wild cats, the foxes, the skunks, the raccoons, the monkeys etc etc as they should be... in the wild.
 
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racccjlm

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Yes I just watched this over break! Great show - I learned quite a bit.
 

nyanko

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In other news, I hear DNA has a double helical structure....TRUE STORY!

Yeah, like tt said, we literally debated about this exact experiment and the domesticated foxes as pets quite some time ago. Guess it isn't official until it's on TV. :rolleyes:
 

Ben and Me

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Is this the study that they were doing in the USSR? If so, I read a paper on it back in undergrad. I think the paper was published in the early 90s and the researchers didn't know what was going to happen since dissolution of the USSR was imminent. Ever since, I've always wondered what happened to those foxes and if the research survived. The only thing I could find was a company in Vegas who claimed to be importing the foxes to the US (for something like $10,000 a pop). Glad to know that the research did survive. I always thought it was a really cool study.

I think this is the paper I read, in case others are interested:

http://www.hum.utah.edu/~bbenham/2510 Spring 09/Behavior Genetics/Farm-Fox Experiment.pdf
 

lei325

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Is this the study that they were doing in the USSR? If so, I read a paper on it back in undergrad. I think the paper was published in the early 90s and the researchers didn't know what was going to happen since dissolution of the USSR was imminent. Ever since, I've always wondered what happened to those foxes and if the research survived. The only thing I could find was a company in Vegas who claimed to be importing the foxes to the US (for something like $10,000 a pop). Glad to know that the research did survive. I always thought it was a really cool study.

I think this is the paper I read, in case others are interested:

http://www.hum.utah.edu/~bbenham/2510 Spring 09/Behavior Genetics/Farm-Fox Experiment.pdf
I was going to say the same thing. My Animal Behavior professor gave us that article and we broke it down as a class. I have to say, I find it as interesting now as I did then (and I still find myself telling people about it, 3 years after I first read it).
 

Two

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TT & Nyanko: Yeah, that was me :p [actually, it's my boyfriend who wants one]


No_Imagination: Very interesting post. I would have loved if the researchers had included wolf-dog hybrids in the experiment as well. Now that would be something to see. I wonder how often wolf-dog hybrids take after their dog nature instead of their wolf instincts.
 

MrPolarZero

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I love dogs, and I considered them as one of my friends. Well this is the first time I have heard about Nova's: Dogs Decoded. I'll watch it as soon as I can :)