Thousands of years ago, the evolution of dogs from wolves occurred, giving humans one of the best pets we could’ve ever asked for. A new study suggests that this may be happening again. In various regions of the world, these animals are increasingly dining on livestock and the garbage we leave behind, straying away from their typical meal of wild prey. Day by day, they are moving closer to the human world.
But what could actually become of it? Evolutionary biologist, Thomas Newsome, examined studies done previously on other large carnivores close to human contact. He found that the Asiatic lions of western India have grown to be less aggressive towards people that tourists can even visit them by foot. On the other hand, the black bears of North America are more likely to die young because they get hunted. Newsome also conducted a study in 2014 on a dingo population in Australia and found that the wild dogs became fat and less aggressive after regularly feeding on the junk food left behind at a waste management facility. He found that they were more likely to mate with local dogs and were more “cheeky.” They formed a genetic cluster different from other dingoes, indicative of genetic isolation which could potentially lead to the formation of a new species.
The diets of grey wolves around the world is already at 32%, and they are expected to change in some way because of it. Their pack sizes as well as social behaviors could be altered drastically. However, another evolutionary biologist, Robert Wayne, says that the dingoes in Newsome's study were more likely to become genetically isolated because of their reduced territories whereas garbage-eating-wolves as a whole are very widespread, making them less likely to become genetically isolated. But Wayne and Newsome can come to the agreement that the best outcome for these animals is not domestication.
So what could actually become of this? What will happen to the wolf population around the world in the upcoming years? What new species could possibly arise?
Source of article and image:
Posted by Natalie Nou (group C)