Chicken study complicates brain size and domestication assumptions

One of the issues I’m most careful with in looking at domestication literature is claims about brain size reduction. Brain size reduction from wolf to dog is a way more complex topic than some popularizers of science would have you believe.

We should also not assume that smaller brains in domestic animals means that the domestic animal are automatically less intelligent than the wild form. In dogs, there is an argument to be made that domestication has enhanced some parts of their intelligence.  I believe part of this problem comes from the romantic delusions that existed in the early study of animal behavior, some of which were openly fascistic in their understanding of wild versus domestic.

A more nuanced way of looking at domestic animals is that their evolution changes to fit an environment that is fully dominated by human society.  In this world, humans are not a major predator, though humans certain do eat many of the animals.  However, the animals live out their lives with humans as benefactors and protectors, and the evolutionary pressures that work on domestic animals change how their brains operate.

A recent study on red junglefowl found that selection for a lack of fear does change their and brain anatomy. The researchers bred a high fear line and a low fear line of red junglefowl. The low fear line birds had smaller overall brains.  However, they much reduced brainstems and tended to have larger cerebra than the high fear line ones. They had a harder time with remembering fearful situations that the high fear line birds easily remembered, but both strains were of equal ability in terms of general associative learning.

This means that the domestication process does not just dull the intelligence of a species and make its brain smaller. Instead, the process makes it easier for the species to live in concert with our societies.

Our popular understanding is that dog domestication made them significantly less intelligent than wolves, and the best proof we have is the proportionality of brain size, as well as some low n experiments that looked at problem-solving ability between captive wolves and very well-trained domestic dogs.

We need to be very careful about what these studies say, for domestication is a process of evolution as much as anything that goes on in the wild. To live with humans in the way that domestic dogs do, their brains have experienced rather dramatic changes from the wild form, and we must be careful about making simplistic explanations that posit “domesticated” as a synonym for “dumber.”

It’s a much more complex conversation, and this study on red junglefowl clearly demonstrates how difficult the reality of brain changes and domestication clearly is.

Like this post? 

Support my work here by becoming a Premium Member. For only $ 2.00 a month, you will get exclusive access to posts before anyone else sees them. Starting in August 2020, each Premium Member will receive two exclusive posts.  So please consider a Premium Membership, if you want to help me produce quality content like this. 

Natural History

Posted in Pet Health Articles | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Protected: We now have the first evidence of a 20,000-year-old dogs in Italy: Premium Member Content

This post is password protected. You must visit the website and enter the password to continue reading.

Natural History

Posted in Pet Health Articles | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Today’s the Day

Your Vote Counts

I know, I know, we’re all sick of people screaming at us on the internet to vote. It admittedly annoys me too, even though I’m one of the people pushing for it. The thing is, this is probably the most important election of our life times. And I get to have a say. So do you. If you haven’t done it yet, it couldn’t be easier. Put on a mask and go to your local polling place and in a few minutes, you helped make history. 
I don’t have any other blog content scheduled for this week. I just don’t know what to expect, and I’m worried about how people from both “sides” will react. If there is unrest, I would feel like I was being inauthentic posting about, like, what throw blankets to buy for winter. I do have some content scheduled for Instagram and Facebook, but it’s possible those might be put on hold too. 
Honestly guys, I feel like there aren’t enough mindfulness exercises, Xanax, or CBD in the world to calm my anxiety about this election. That’s just me being honest. So much is at stake. Maybe you can just wake me up when it’s over?
ALSO FIND US HERE: INSTAGRAM // FACEBOOK // TWITTER // PINTEREST


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

Posted in Pet Health Articles | Tagged | Leave a comment

Win a Set of Camo YUCKY PUPPY Poop Bag Carriers!

Yesterday we had a fun, very socially-distanced day at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area in the Texas Hill Country. We’re (finally!) enjoying some beautiful fall weather, perfect for hiking and…



[[ This is a summary only. Click the title for the full post, photos, videos, giveaways, and more! ]]


DogTipper

Posted in Pet Health Articles | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Just the Good Ol’ Boy

Sagan turned 11 months old on Tuesday. He is just a good boy all around.

He’s turned into fetching fool.  That Herm Sprenger ball gets a lot of use!

Natural History

Posted in Pet Health Articles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Shelter Sunday: Baby Blue / Out of the Woods Rescue / Little Rock, Arkansas

Meet Baby Blue! Here’s what her rescuers have to say about this Husky / Shepherd mix: Baby Blue was born after a pregnant dog was dumped in a rural part of Arkansas. We think she is a Shepherd/Husky mix. She was born around September 1st. Baby Blue has one blue eye, which makes her very … Continue reading Shelter Sunday: Baby Blue / Out of the Woods Rescue / Little Rock, Arkansas


Doggies.com Dog Blog

Posted in Pet Health Articles | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Retiring this Space

WordPress has given me a new, very clunky editor that does not allow me to use this software the way I use it. I have been in contact with WordPress trying to get this issue resolved, but I am unable to.

I am in the process of getting a new site set up. For Premium content subscribers, this means that it may take some time for me to get everything squared away. If you have any questions, please use the contact form to contact me.

The new editor is design for people use use mobile devices to blog. And that’s not me.

The domain will still be up if you’re looking for older content, but new content will not appear at this site.

I was barely able to post this. LOL. It’s that bad.

I’ll update everyone with the new site when it gets established. I don’t know how long it will take. But I am working on it.

Natural History

Posted in Pet Health Articles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Candy Dog Names

If you are a new pet parent who’s a fan of both candy and canines, why not choose a sweet candy dog name for your new four-legged family member! From palate-pleasing confections of the…



[[ This is a summary only. Click the title for the full post, photos, videos, giveaways, and more! ]]


DogTipper

Posted in Pet Health Articles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Pesto Penne with Olives and Tomatoes

Pesto Penne with Olives and Tomatoes

This dish is a summer staple in our house, but I find myself making it in the fall and winter a lot too, because when it’s cold and grey, it reminds me of summertime. We grow basil all year long thanks to our Gardyn system (Side note: You can get $ 100 off a Gardyn of your own with this link; we love ours!), which enables us to make pesto from scratch. But just as often, we buy the store bought version, which makes this meal easier than ever. Either way, I think you’ll enjoy this super delicious, full flavored pasta dish!
Pesto Penne with Olives and Tomatoes
Pesto Penne with Olives and Tomatoes
Pesto Penne with Olives
Serves 4
INGREDIENTS
12 ounces penne pasta
Pesto (store bought or fresh; here is a delicious fresh pesto recipe)
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes (or other tomatoes diced into large pieces)
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted (or green olives or black olives)
Basil leaves for garnish 
Shredded or shaved parmesan  
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return pasta to pot. Stir in pesto until equally distributed among the pasta. Stir in olives and tomatoes. (Hint: turn the stove heat on low to keep the pasta warm while serving.) Serve immediately in bowls topped with basil leaves and parmesan with fresh Italian bread.
Pesto Penne with Olives and Tomatoes
This is such a simple, quick dish (especially if the pesto is premade), and keeps a little bit of summer around year. Enjoy!
ALSO FIND US HERE: INSTAGRAM // FACEBOOK // TWITTER // PINTEREST


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

Posted in Pet Health Articles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

5 Strategies to Boost Your Dog’s Fitness & Muscle Health this Fall

As the weather cools and we all enjoy longer and more strenuous walks with our dogs, it’s important to properly prepare for boosting your dog’s fitness level. Today we have a guest post…



[[ This is a summary only. Click the title for the full post, photos, videos, giveaways, and more! ]]


DogTipper

Posted in Pet Health Articles | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment