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Old 08-21-2010, 06:55 AM   #1
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I will kick off the "wolf/dog" topic by saying that the Smithsonian (Smythsonian?) Institute reclassified "Canis Familiaris" as being "Canis LUPUS Familiaris", in acknowledgement of the fact that dogs and wolves share 99.2% DNA. Studies performed have proved (through the mitochondrial RNA) that ALL domesticated dogs directly descended from 3 original wolf bitches. This cannot be argued with, it is scientific fact. However, it does appear that certainly the digestive system of domesticated dog has changed, for want of a better word, such that SOME dogs (and by no means not all, my old boy Hal included) can apparently digest carrots to give an example. This has occurred over the 10's of thousands of years since "wolf" was first domesticated by man, and gradually evolved into "dog". There is no fundamental difference between the two, they are still genetically the same creature, but in times dogs have evolved into dogs, and wolves have remained wolves.

Just like it has now been discovered that Neanderthal Man was not a forerunner to Homo Sapiens, but exactly the same species, in other words Homo Sapiens, so is dog the same species as wolf, just evolved into modern man.

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Old 08-21-2010, 10:56 AM   #2
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I wish they would move the posts from the other thread (raw vs. kibble) that pertained to wolf/dog to this thread. There are some in the other thread I would like to reply to but since this thread was started, I won't reply over there.

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Old 08-21-2010, 11:00 AM   #3
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It's always a little messy when threads get split.
Perhaps what you can do is to use the "quote" feature to grab the specific text that you want to reply to, and then instead of replying on the other thread, copy and paste it and reply here. Once we get rolling here this thread will probably develop it's own discussion anyway.
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Old 08-21-2010, 11:04 AM   #4
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The difference is like in humans, some can't digest milk products. Vegans have trouble with meat if they have been vegans long enough. I admit mitochrondial DNA is a good way to trace back these things since it come from the maternal side intact! Makes me wonder why all the fuss about paternity in the world. Maternal side is the only side to be sure of!
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Old 08-21-2010, 11:17 AM   #5
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There is no fundamental difference between the two, they are still genetically the same creature, but in times dogs have evolved into dogs, and wolves have remained wolves.
That is explained by the Russian fox experiments back in the 1930's. There is a fox farm in Russia that wanted to breed more docile foxes because the wild foxes they used were difficult to handle. They began breeding their most meek and mild foxes to each other and continued doing that for many gerations.

It didn't take a lot of generations of trying to develop tame foxes that they began to change in appearance and behavior. One change is that these docile foxes began to bark like dogs. (One difference cited between dog/wolves is that wolves don't bark.)

Some of the docile foxes developed floppy ears. (Wolves don't have floppy ears like a lot of dog breeds.) Different colors began appearing in the new foxes. Some were black, some where white, some were black and white and many different color combinations emerged. (As dog colors have differed from wolves.)

There were other changes that I can't remember right now off the top of my head as it was a few years ago that I read about this. No one is sure why these changes took place but one theory is that because docile foxes were bred for several generations, the offspring had smaller amounts of testosterone and/or adrenalin in their bodies causing recessive charateristics to emerge.

You can find out more about this by googling "russian fox experiment". You can also go to youtube and using their search feature, look for "russian fox experiment" and there is a video showing some of these foxes.

ETA: The same thing happened when early man began breeding the most docile wolves and ended up with wolves that didn't look exactly like the original wolves but they were still wolves. Decendants of these docile wolf breedings are what we now call dogs. Eventhough we call them dogs, they are still wolves.

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Old 08-21-2010, 05:40 PM   #6
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RFD if I understand your argument correctly (and please say so if I did not), you are saying that the experiment with breeding tame foxes in Russia showed that physical and physiological differences comparable to those seen between wolves and gos can be developed in only a few generations; and that these few generations are not sufficient to change the genes to the point where these tame foxes should be called a different species than foxes. Not surprisingly I don't agree, and I think that the reason for the difference in opinion might boil down to different understandings of the term "same." If you ask people whether wolves and dogs are the "same," some people will say yes and some will say "no" depending on what they are focusing on.

The purely genetic argument and classification is one I find a little murky. My old school way of thinking says there should be a dividing line where mating of two beings can produce fertile offspring. If it does, they should be considered the same species (my opinion) and if it doesn't they are different. This breaks down though in the case of canines because coyotes or jackals and wolves / dogs produce fertile offspring, yet they are considered different species. To me once you throw out the clearcut definition of being able to produce fertile offspring, just about any criterion is fair game.

The degree of genetic similarity is to me also a little murky as I am not sure what it means when someone says that two species are say 95% genetically similar. I ran across a website recently (can't find it now ) claiming that the degree of similarity between apes and humans ranges from 95-98% depending on how you quantify it. Again, if you have a simple case of say 2000 marbles, you can easily say how similar another set of 2000 marbles are if the only thing that changes is color. But what if size, transparency etc can also all be changed, then it becomes more difficult to put a single number on the whole package.

At any rate, I am of the opinion that while grey wolves and domestic dogs are currently considered to be the same species, that does not make them the "same." Look at the differences in say skin pH and thickness between different breeds. If we can breed in those physiological differences over a hundred years or so, then the differences which develop over the course of dogs evolving from wolves into a companion animal for humans which took place over thousands of years must be sufficient to change appearance, temperament, physiology and yes, possibly dietary needs as well.
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Old 08-21-2010, 06:07 PM   #7
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Hi, everyone. I am new to the forum and was scanning through some of the posts. The one that caught my eye was the one with the title above. National Geografic Channel had a very good episode called "Man Created Dog". Very informative about how man created present day dogs, starting with the early man to the Present.

Good information on how temperment, strength, and such traited as hunting, herding, protection and all the verious traites we see in our dogs of today.
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Old 08-21-2010, 07:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skunkstripe View Post
RFD if I understand your argument correctly (and please say so if I did not), you are saying that the experiment with breeding tame foxes in Russia showed that physical and physiological differences comparable to those seen between wolves and gos can be developed in only a few generations; and that these few generations are not sufficient to change the genes to the point where these tame foxes should be called a different species than foxes.
I haven't seen anything anywhere that calles them something other than foxes. I am saying that anytime you breed 2 foxes, the resultant offspring is nothing other than a fox. Same with any species. Genetically, these tame foxes are the same as the original foxes.

Quote:
Not surprisingly I don't agree, and I think that the reason for the difference in opinion might boil down to different understandings of the term "same." If you ask people whether wolves and dogs are the "same," some people will say yes and some will say "no" depending on what they are focusing on.
Thats a thought. However the differences between wolves and dogs are so small as to be basically inconsequential.

Quote:
The purely genetic argument and classification is one I find a little murky. My old school way of thinking says there should be a dividing line where mating of two beings can produce fertile offspring. If it does, they should be considered the same species (my opinion) and if it doesn't they are different. This breaks down though in the case of canines because coyotes or jackals and wolves / dogs produce fertile offspring, yet they are considered different species. To me once you throw out the clearcut definition of being able to produce fertile offspring, just about any criterion is fair game.
Perhaps it will be a little clearer if you look at the "family tree" at this link ... http://www.mnh.si.edu/GeneticsLab/St...Paper_1999.pdf

Quote:
The degree of genetic similarity is to me also a little murky as I am not sure what it means when someone says that two species are say 95% genetically similar. I ran across a website recently (can't find it now ) claiming that the degree of similarity between apes and humans ranges from 95-98% depending on how you quantify it.
Thats true and dog & wolves are 99.8% similar. You see, you can trace ancestory though a part of DNA called mtDNA. Thats the part of DNA thats passed from the mother to offspring. Through looking at the mtDNA you can trace any dogs ancestory right back to wolves. Also through DNA you can determine that no other animal DNA is present meaning that no animal bred with a wolf to create a dog. So, from that I am convinced that when you breed a wolf to a wolf the resultant offspring is always a wolf. I don't know how you can say its anything else just as you can't say the tame foxes are different from the old foxes.

Quote:
Again, if you have a simple case of say 2000 marbles, you can easily say how similar another set of 2000 marbles are if the only thing that changes is color. But what if size, transparency etc can also all be changed, then it becomes more difficult to put a single number on the whole package.

At any rate, I am of the opinion that while grey wolves and domestic dogs are currently considered to be the same species, that does not make them the "same."
By that criteria, different breeds of dogs are not the "same" either. :smile:

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Look at the differences in say skin pH and thickness between different breeds. If we can breed in those physiological differences over a hundred years or so, then the differences which develop over the course of dogs evolving from wolves into a companion animal for humans which took place over thousands of years must be sufficient to change appearance, temperament, physiology and yes, possibly dietary needs as well.
Wolves have different dietary needs in the sense that because of their high activity, they need more calories. However for there to be a real dietary need difference, something in the GI tract would need to change and it hasn't. The GI tract of a wild wolf of today and dog are the same. They operate in the same manner. The only dental difference is the wolf teeth are larger because the mouth is a little larger.

To have different dietary needs, one needs to be an omnivore. To be an omnivore a dog would have to have flat molars in the back of his mouth similar to ours. He doesn't.

To be an omnivore a dog would have to have a lateral movement to his lower jaw like we do. He doesn't.

To be an omnivore a dog would have to have a different hinge mechanism in his jaw.

To be an omnivore a dog would have to produce amylase in his salava. He doesn't.

To be an omnivore a dog would have less acidic stomach juice. Obviously he doesn't.

He would have to have longer intestines. He doesn't.

The inside of his intestines would have to be more "wrinkled" to hold food longer. It isn't.

Omnivores chew their food into a mush before they swallow. Dogs don't

In general, omnivores mouths are smaller than dogs.

So, you see, a dog just can't be an omnivore. He just isn't built that way. No matter how hard we try to make him one, he just isn't. You can't feed a carnivore omnivore food and make an omnivore out of him.

Soooo to get back to my point. Dogs don't have different dietary needs from a wolf because of the reasons just listed.

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Old 08-23-2010, 03:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by techie View Post
The difference is like in humans, some can't digest milk products. Vegans have trouble with meat if they have been vegans long enough. I admit mitochrondial DNA is a good way to trace back these things since it come from the maternal side intact! Makes me wonder why all the fuss about paternity in the world. Maternal side is the only side to be sure of!
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I am not sure what the difference is, but it is through the mitochondrial RNA that all dogs can be traced back to 3 wolf bitches, not the DNA. As I say, I don't understand the difference, but that's what OH tells me!

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Old 08-23-2010, 03:13 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by RawFedDogs View Post
That is explained by the Russian fox experiments back in the 1930's. There is a fox farm in Russia that wanted to breed more docile foxes because the wild foxes they used were difficult to handle. They began breeding their most meek and mild foxes to each other and continued doing that for many gerations.

It didn't take a lot of generations of trying to develop tame foxes that they began to change in appearance and behavior. One change is that these docile foxes began to bark like dogs. (One difference cited between dog/wolves is that wolves don't bark.)

Some of the docile foxes developed floppy ears. (Wolves don't have floppy ears like a lot of dog breeds.) Different colors began appearing in the new foxes. Some were black, some where white, some were black and white and many different color combinations emerged. (As dog colors have differed from wolves.)

There were other changes that I can't remember right now off the top of my head as it was a few years ago that I read about this. No one is sure why these changes took place but one theory is that because docile foxes were bred for several generations, the offspring had smaller amounts of testosterone and/or adrenalin in their bodies causing recessive charateristics to emerge.

You can find out more about this by googling "russian fox experiment". You can also go to youtube and using their search feature, look for "russian fox experiment" and there is a video showing some of these foxes.

ETA: The same thing happened when early man began breeding the most docile wolves and ended up with wolves that didn't look exactly like the original wolves but they were still wolves. Decendants of these docile wolf breedings are what we now call dogs. Eventhough we call them dogs, they are still wolves.
Yup, absolutely! What's the old saying? Beware the wolf in sheep's clothing? Man did indeed take the wolf and by selectively breeding from only those who were "tame" and tolerant of human beings, created over 2,000 breeds of dog that we know and love today. It never ceases to amaze me how in a relatively few generations, it is possible to create a Chihuahua out of a wolf! A chihuahua bears very little resemblance to a wolf of course, but setting aside the size, there are many recognisable physical characteristics. Of far more importance though, are the behavioural similarities. My daughter's little chihuahua, Gucci, reminds me so much of my old wolf cross, Hal. He might look like a large rat, but my gosh he is a spunky little fella and as I say, you are left in no doubt of his ancestry.

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