Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Evolution In Action.

Interesting article on the development of stray dogs in Moskow in the Financial Times. They are no longer merely domestic dogs on the loose, but have evolved physically and behaviourally over the years (maybe even decades or centuries) into something separate that is more wolf like. The different niches the dogs occupy is also remarkable:

Neuronov says there are some 500 strays that live in the metro stations, especially during the colder months, but only about 20 have learned how to ride the trains. This happened gradually, first as a way to broaden their territory. Later, it became a way of life. “Why should they go by foot if they can move around by public transport?” he asks.

“They orient themselves in a number of ways,” Neuronov adds. “They figure out where they are by smell, by recognising the name of the station from the recorded announcer’s voice and by time intervals. If, for example, you come every Monday and feed a dog, that dog will know when it’s Monday and the hour to expect you, based on their sense of time intervals from their ­biological clocks.”

It possibly shines a light on dog evolution, if domestic dogs didn't exist then the "beggars" who have attuned themselves to human feelings would be good candidates for domestication.


Yaffle said...

One travel book on Moscow I read a while back said that, for all the privations of life there, there were three things it was never short of: stray dogs, anti-Semitic graffiti and Mars bars.

Ross said...

The three essentials of life.

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