Tagged With domestication

New archaeological evidence suggests humans were cultivating and consuming cacao — the crop from which chocolate is produced—as long as 5,300 years ago, which is 1,500 years earlier than previously thought. What’s more, cacao was initially domesticated in the equatorial regions of South America, and not Central America.

This week, the Westminster Kennel Club is hosting its popular annual dog show, where canines of all shapes and sizes get to strut their stuff in front of discerning judges. Seems like harmless fun, but many purebred dogs are, or soon will be, in poor physical health - the result of an emphasis on cosmetic, and not functional, physical characteristics.

Humans and dogs have a long history of working together, leading to the assumption that the collaborative abilities of dogs are the result of domestication. New research suggests this isn't the case, and that wolves are far better at cooperation than their domesticated cousins, at least when they're cooperating with one another.

From a young age, human children learn that a rattle won't make a noise until it's shaken, and that placing fingers on a hot stove is a terrible idea. New research suggests that wolves, like humans, have a knack for identifying these kinds of cause-and-effect relationships, but that domesticated dogs do not. This finding suggests that domestication may have debilitated doggie brains, but there are other possible factors to consider as well.

A proposal by University of NSW scientist Bill Ballard to study the DNA of a two year old Australian dingo - called Sandy Maliki - has been announced as one of five finalists in the World’s Most Interesting Genome competition.

What makes it "most interesting" is that it may uncover what helps a wild animal become domesticated.

The precise origin of our canine companions is mired in controversy. But a new study suggests that dogs emerged from not one but two different populations of ancient wolves. What's more, this dual domestication happened on opposite sides of the Eurasian continent.