In the 1950s, Soviet zoologist Dmitry Belyayev began selectively breeding wild foxes based on how friendly they were. The result is a semi-domesticated red fox, five of which now live in California.
Via Verge Science:
This week, we meet the very cute and very bizarre result of an almost 60-year-long experiment: they’re foxes that have been specially bred for their dog-like friendliness toward people. We do a little behavior research of our own, and discover what scientists continue to learn from the world’s most famous experiment in domestication. The fox experiment continues under the supervision of Lyudmila Trut at the Institute of Cytology and Genetics. Her book “How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog)”, co-authored by Lee Alan Dugatkin, details the history and science behind the experiment.
There's a distinction between domesticated animals like these and socialized wild animals. You can raise a chimp from infancy to be socialized around humans, but it still might rip your face off one day because it is not domesticated.
Belyayev simultaneously bred the most aggressive foxes with each other, and generations later will lunge at anyone who approaches their cages. Meanwhile The nice foxes even started to look different: "They even started sporting some of the signature biological features of domesticated dogs, like curly tails and floppy ears."
• We met the world’s first domesticated foxes (YouTube / Verge Science)
More than 40 years ago, Eric McMillan, a renowned designer of children’s play areas, and his team created the ball pit, those troughs of brightly-colored plastic balls that children swim around in. (Ball pits also may be a giant petri dish of pathogens but, hell, the kids love ’em.) Apparently, McMillan–who went on to be […]
On Thursday, the Oxbow Prairie Horizons School in Saskatchewan, Canada staged their annual student Christmas concert. The show, “Santa Goes Green,” pissed off parents in the town where oil is one of the major industries. Here’s a description from the Santa Goes Green sheet music: Melting ice caps, global warming, surfing reindeer! The North Pole […]
Last month, Propublica published a characteristically blockbuster piece on the use of "quiet rooms" in Illinois schools, especially in special ed programs: these are a euphemism for solitary confinement, and their use is so cruel and grotesque that Propublica's reporting prompted state level action to ban quiet rooms in schools and reform the policy on […]
Going to the beach is almost always an enjoyable experience, but trekking back through your house on the way to the shower can leave a trail of sand the quickly saps the day of its sunny fun. Thankfully this BeachBox: Portable Shower & Storage unit has you covered the next time you hit the beach. […]
When it comes to immediately grabbing a reader’s attention in any medium, few things are more important than picking the perfect font—regardless of whether you’re advertising your brand online or in print. The MyFonts Monotype Fresh Font Bundle offers over 50 handcrafted fonts from one of the world’s most revered typeface companies, and it’s available […]
We’re all guilty of constantly staring at a variety of screens throughout the day. The only problem is that the blue light that’s emitted by most electronics — and even energy-efficient lightbulbs — is notoriously bad for our eyes and, subsequently, our health. Here are three glasses that offer superior protection for your eyes both […]