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January 18 2013

Study Determines Why Dogs Can Be Tamed, While Wolves Remain Wild


Dogs and wolves are genetically very similar, which has made it difficult for scientists to understand why dogs are happy to become âmanâs best friendâ while wolves remain fiercely wild. Kathryn Lord, doctoral student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, suggests the different behaviors are related to the animalsâ earliest sensory experiences and the critical period of socialization.

Previous to this study, little was known about the sensory development in wolf pups. Most assumptions, therefore, were extrapolated from what is known of dogs. Scientists already know that there are significant early development differences in the two species, making this assumption problematic. The chief difference is the timing of the ability to walk, Lord said.

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