Eat your cereal!

Or wheat, not meat, offers new clues on the evolution of the dog… An article in the Washington Post yesterday suggests that developing the ability to digest grains played a key role in the evolution of the dog. This morning, NPR also reported on the Swedish study., confirming the carb-canine connection. Since dogs will bark throughout the semester, I’ve added a page for us to discuss them here.

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About A. Nelson

I am a historian of Russia with expertise in cultural history and emerging interests in animal studies and environmental history. My current research projects include studies of the Soviet space dogs, the significance of the Belyaev fox domestication project, and the cultural implications of domestication, particularly in Eurasia.

2 thoughts on “Eat your cereal!

  1. I had already seen this article and was excited to see that you had posted it! This is very interesting. I wonder if genetic linkage exists between ability to digest starch and a pleasant, malleable temperament. That is–I wonder if those dogs that could digest starch also had easier-going temperaments (kind of like the 40-generation fox-selection experiment that also resulted in unintended changes in the foxes’ physical appearances). Or maybe the increased levels of carbohydrates in the dogs diets made them easier to get along with–it is well known among horse people that diet effects disposition.
    This article is also relevant because it does just what the Russell article said we should do. It relates and connects evolutionary processes (and even genomic analysis) to human history.

  2. Terrific questions! I wonder if the connection between carbs and disposition is somehow connected to the fight-flight mechanism? Is there some connection between a lowered fight-flight mechanism and development of the ability to digest carbohydrates? It’s one of those chicken-egg question that would be hard to sort out. But it’s certainly intriguing! I’m working on the Belyaev fox experiments as well.

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