We discuss and comment on the role agriculture will play in the containment of the CO2 problem and address protocols for terraforming the planet Earth.
A model farm template is imagined as the central methodology. A broad range of timely science news and other topics of interest are commented on.
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
The Wild in the Wolf
is quite surprising. The tamed dog postpones socialization and
exploring its environment until all three senses have kicked in. Now
does this also happen with other tamed animals? Can this effect be
certainly explains the ease in which pups adapt to human life ways.
So equipped, it could adapt to any alien life way.
interesting question is just how the process of domestication affects
other animal in this part of behavior development.
wild animals can become comfortable around humans but are still wild
for all that. Wildness may well be a strong fear reflex unconnected
with the present. Thus actually safety with wild animals may mean
discovering a way to control that particular reflex. Now we know
least it is a starting point and a promising one. Without that
reflex, the lion will and can lie down with the lamb.
UMass Amherst Study
May Explain Why Wolves are Forever Wild, But Dogs Can Be Tamed
Dogs and wolves are
genetically so similar, it's been difficult for biologists to
understand why wolves remain fiercely wild, while dogs can gladly
become "man's best friend." Now, doctoral research by
evolutionary biologist Kathryn Lord at the University of
Massachusetts Amherst suggests the different behaviors are related to
the animals' earliest sensory experiences and the critical period of
socialization. Details appear in the current issue of Ethology.
Until now, little was
known about sensory development in wolf pups, and assumptions were
usually extrapolated from what is known for dogs, Lord explains. This
would be reasonable, except scientists already know there are
significant differences in early development between wolf and dog
pups, chief among them timing of the ability to walk, she adds.
To address this
knowledge gap, she studied responses of seven wolf pups and 43 dogs
to both familiar and new smells, sounds and visual stimuli, tested
them weekly, and found they did develop their senses at the same
But her study also
revealed new information about how the two subspecies of Canis lupus
experience their environment during a four-week developmental window
called the critical period of socialization, and the new facts may
significantly change understanding of wolf and dog development.
socialization window is open, wolf and dog pups begin walking and
exploring without fear and will retain familiarity throughout their
lives with those things they contact. Domestic dogs can be
introduced to humans, horses and even cats at this stage and be
comfortable with them forever. But as the period progresses, fear
increases and after the window closes, new sights, sounds and
smells will elicit a fear response.
Lord confirmed that both wolf pups and dogs develop the sense of
smell at age two weeks, hearing at four weeks and vision by age six
weeks on average.
However, these two
subspecies enter the critical period of socialization at different
ages. Dogs begin the period at four weeks, while wolves begin at
two weeks. Therefore, how each subspecies experiences the world
during that all-important month is extremely different, and likely
leads to different developmental paths, she says.
Lord reports for the
first time that wolf pups are still blind and deaf when they begin to
walk and explore their environment at age two weeks. "No one
knew this about wolves, that when they begin exploring they're
blind and deaf and rely primarily on smell at this stage, so this
is very exciting," she notes.
She adds, "When
wolf pups first start to hear, they are frightened of the new sounds
initially, and when they first start to see they are also initially
afraid of new visual stimuli. As each sense engages, wolf pups
experience a new round of sensory shocks that dog puppies do not."
Meanwhile, dog pups
only begin to explore and walk after all three senses, smell, hearing
and sight, are functioning. Overall, "It's quite startling
how different dogs and wolves are from each other at that early age,
given how close they are genetically.[
this is really unexpected and needs to be checked with other species
also - arclein]
A litter of dog
puppies at two weeks are just basically little puddles, unable to get
up or walk around. But wolf pups are exploring actively, walking
strongly with good coordination and starting to be able to climb up
little steps and hills."
development-related differences in dog and wolf pups' experiences put
them on distinctly different trajectories in relation to the ability
to form interspecies social attachments, notably with humans, Lord
says. This new information has implications for managing wild and
captive wolf populations, she says.
analyzed the behavior of three groups of young animals: 11 wolves
from three litters and 43 dogs total. Of the dogs, 33 border collies
and German shepherds were raised by their mothers and a control group
of 10 German shepherd pups were hand-raised, meaning a human was
introduced soon after birth.
At the gene level, she
adds, "the difference may not be in the gene itself, but in
when the gene is turned on. The data help to explain why, if you want
to socialize a dog with a human or a horse, all you need is 90
minutes to introduce them between the ages of four and eight weeks.
After that, a dog will
not be afraid of humans or whatever else you introduced. Of course,
to build a real relationship takes more time. But with a wolf pup,
achieving even close to the same fear reduction requires 24-hour
contact starting before age three weeks, and even then you won't get
the same attachment or lack of fear."