We met the world’s first domesticated foxes

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  • Published on:  9/11/2018
  • 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.

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Comment

  • Verge Science
    Verge Science  2 months ago+9710

    Should we be domesticating wild animals?

  • The Phoenix
    The Phoenix an hour ago

    There are two domestic wild animals that I agree with
    Capybara's and Sugar Gliders

  • Learning Again
    Learning Again 2 hours ago

    Can't wait to domesticate Polar Bears and Elephants.

  • 69op2gg1005ify0m
    69op2gg1005ify0m 2 hours ago

    your cracked screen made my screen worry for a moment....

  • Steve Main
    Steve Main 3 hours ago

    Why did I watch this when I dont give a dam

  • Rizki Anggoro
    Rizki Anggoro 4 hours ago

    So, what does the fox say?

  • Edgar Alfaro
    Edgar Alfaro 5 hours ago

    Dawg In snowman aspen Colorado they come up to you and don’t growl at you but that’s cuz I got there trust

  • Marie Anne
    Marie Anne 5 hours ago

    Ok I want a fox now 🦊

  • Remy Carreiro
    Remy Carreiro 6 hours ago

    *Suddenly feels super guilty about the 200 foxes I skinned in Red Dead 2 this week.

  • Ramen
    Ramen 6 hours ago

    Can you domesticate my wife that won't give me my kids back

  • Ethan Frear
    Ethan Frear 8 hours ago

    All Russians are named Demetri

  • Boi You Best
    Boi You Best 8 hours ago

    Where can I buy one

  • JP Parola
    JP Parola 9 hours ago

    Now do the world's most domesticated Wolf.

  • Aasim Patwa
    Aasim Patwa 10 hours ago

    Why do you sound like blu from rio?

  • Gang Gang
    Gang Gang 10 hours ago

    Perhaps this 'friendliness gene' is what's happening in canada lol

  • Leigh Chamberlain
    Leigh Chamberlain 10 hours ago

    I always thought foxes were feline... Not dogs

  • YamiKisara
    YamiKisara 10 hours ago

    Glad you mentioned the physical traits at the end, because that was the research's main point. They mostly selected friendly animals simply because they were easier to handle and those animals showed the physical differences that came with it: whining for attention in pups, floppy ears that don't perk up until the pup is older (while they do almost immediately in wild foxes), shorter curled tails so wagging gets easier, long story short: those foxes adapted behaviour and traits that are easily understood by humans. And the whole process took only a few years, if you look at the big picture. Which surprised even the scientists, because they expected to only see minor changes in that period and maybe the experiment would have to continue for centuries before they got a domestic fox, but no, it only took like twenty years! And then in the 80's, when the initial experiment ended, the scientists decided they just couldn't abandon the animals, hence why they stayed behind and continued the experiment. This was the USSR back then, mind you. In the 60's, when the experiment started, people had a different bond with dogs and other animals too, much more so in outback countries like Russia. So this experiment shows significant points about our behaviour too, imo. Anyway, everyone can buy one of those foxes, for something like 5000 dollars. And the animals go out neutered. That's in order to prevent their abuse for massbreeding as well as to keep an eye on the population and which fox is which.

  • Branden Ward
    Branden Ward 10 hours ago

    But not only were dogs domesticated they were pack hunters and humans used them as hunting companions for thousands of years and as they became more and more dependant on humans the Closer they became to us and being part of their pack

  • HeavensCobra
    HeavensCobra 10 hours ago

    I dont like the fact that they keep comparing Foxes to dogs I LOVE FOXES I want one but its illegal to own one here unless you nurse it from injury so I have to move

  • jaf12theking
    jaf12theking 10 hours ago

    That’s some weird dogs