So, when I was installing my AC, I invited my dog to look out the fully open window. He started to climb up on me, as if he was intending to actually jump out. I tied to keep my bedroom door closed after that. At one point, he was obnoxiously getting under my feet, which is a dysfunctional thing he does whenever I am more active than usual. I yelled at him and he ran into the bedroom, moving towards the open window. I had to coax him back, apprehensively. He stupidly would have jumped. Two storeys. He is so messed up in some ways. Afraid of nothing! But, he has the niceness complex, to be sure. He has never barked at anyone, or thing, while we have been outside, no matter how much trouble was coming our way. Afterwards, though, he sleeps, and barks in his dreams, as if to compensate.
You know how we have all these wonderful, kind, loving dogs due to some kind of genetic manipulation over thousands of years? Many of you already know about the famous fox experiment, where one guy raised several generations of foxes, selecting for friendliness to humans. Soon enough, very friendly foxes evolved, and they had child-like traits - like droopy ears, and so forth. (In a similar way, it is probable that human civilisation has evolved cooperative people, who also ended up looking more child-like, with bigger eyes, slight bones, larger heads, etc.) The downside of the human evo-domestication of wolves into dogs, however, has been reemergence of recessive genetic problems in dogs. Now, we have dogs with heart problems, hip problems, early dying, gullibility towards coyotes, and the like. It has been a trade-off: we get trusty pals, they get sick.
I previously thought that this genetic faulting of dogs has been a general, um, gradual, mistake. Maybe, however, it may be more attributable to only one or two changes in the wolf's genetics - albeit a somewhat wide-ranged one. That is to say, the domestication of wolf from dog mainly only a few broad switches in wolf genetics, resulting in more-immediate health consequences generally common to all dogs. This would have been a genetic change predisposing the animals towards hyper-friendliness, in vitro, towards humans.
An important aside or two: An article linked herein shows that dogs evolved to better be able to digest the starches we humans are known to wallow in. (Starch makes little sense to wolvine digestion). It turns out that this genetic change was subsequent to our early domestication of wolves-into-dogs, which therefore means that the genetic change towards friendliness came first!
(Btw - we are still culling our own herd regarding starches, similar to our culling regarding alcohol. A recent report has shown that what-I-call, "fast carbs," can be greatly responsible for heart attacks. But, I think if you are German - don't worry about it - just like if you are Irish, don't fret about the whole alcohol thing. Now, if you are African or Native American, then maybe consider it).
Last aside point: Fairly recent book suggested that wolves buddied up to human hunters cuz the wolves were able to see the roving whites of the hunters' eyes. I have major problems with this; and now the, "friendliness factor," weighs in against it further. I do believe that wolves did pay attention to the roving whites, but I more strongly believe that humans were more attentive to the friendly wolves than vice versa. And, I strongly believe that psychic connexions existed as well, whether wolf to human, or whatever. I do believe that wolves have a strong psychic sense.
Anyway, the selection of friendly dogs from wolves may have only involved a very few related genes, for the most part. In humans, the deletion of some of these genes create a syndrome called, "William's Syndrome," wherein the sufferers exhibit elf-like facial features, heart problems, other problems, somewhat dulled intelligence, and an intense need to be friendly!
People with this syndrome are always smiling, and want to be at the center of cocktail party attention. In some ways, they resemble people with autism, but in more ways, they are rather opposite. For example, they have a great need to focus in on eye contact. This is a really amazing condition to research: William's Syndrome.
Let us pause for a moment. Humans created the dog, selecting for niceness. Although countless dogs have subsequently been lost to coyotes, wolves, animal shelters, abandonment, starvation, abuse, and genetic conditions, the remaining dogs continue to be selected for friendliness, and tend to be served dinner every night. Not a bad life, when all one has to do is to bark at approaching strangers, right?
But what have we been doing to the elves amongst us? I think, in general, we have been keeping them down, culling them from the herd. How many times have persons in this cynical, negative society been suspicious of the overly-friendly - the roving smiling eyes - the lyrical banter? And I am not just talking elves, here, I am also including leprechauns. In fact, let's just generalise and say all the freaking Irish. Or all the trusting Native Americans. Or whatever lilting, jinxing, puppy-like lovers of art and expression and happiness and honesty and innocence. How many times have these been conspired against in smotherly, dank social circles, with gossip and hate and retribution? It's an ongoing attack, and it's an ongoing struggle. But, this is something to post about later - perchance a little to think about now.
Born nice? Peoples' niceness may reside in their genes, study finds
I will be posting so much more about the intelligence of animals, and on the evolution of the dog. So, these links shall be posted again, when I do. Here are a few extra, recent links for now:
Dog domestication happened just once, ancient DNA study suggests - (A single source suggests that the genetic switch over to friendliness was a local, careful and unique event. That would comport to the genetics: i.e., one major switch over a relatively short period of time. BTW - back when I was researching dog evolution, I did hit upon this confusing question as to whether or not dogs evolved in two separate places, or only one. The fact remains that we were left with American dogs, like the Chihuahua, which were unique, compared to Euro-Asian dogs. This is a really fascinating subject to study!).
If dogs could talk, they’d tell us some home truths
Dog Domestication: Is A New Study Barking Up The Wrong Tree?
Comparative: Noonan Syndrome.
Comparative: Help for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.