Airdate: Feb 06, 2012
Scientist: Brian Hare
KSC: Animal Smarts - Dogs Were Once Wolves
Dogs and humans have changed each other in many ways over the years... perhaps for the better.
Kids' Science Challenge: Animal Smarts Dogs Were Once Wolves
Music; Ambience: Wolf howl [sound file source retrospective 5000th], Dog Barks
BH: The DNA inside your dog is almost identical to the DNA or code inside of a wolf. And what that told scientists is that actually dogs, long ago, they were actually wolves.
JM: Over thousands of years, dogs have changed, evolved, as a result of their contact with humans. Well, have we changed as a result of our contact with dogs? I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Brian Hare is an evolutionary biologist at Duke University.
BH: So, you can ask how is it that dogs ended up the way that they are? It ends up that the dogs that were with us were really the least aggressive of all the wolves. And if they were peaceful and if they were tolerant of people well then they got to stay with us and they became dogs. Well what about humans? Does that mean that dogs have actually changed us somehow? Well one of the ideas that people are thinking about is, yes! Dogs actually have changed us. Because dogs are very, very good at alerting us to danger. And it made it easier for us to live in large groups together but more importantly than that- the other thing that dogs helped us do is we had to be peaceful towards other animals. Because if we wanted dogs to help us by barking and alerting us to danger well we had to be nice to the dogs. So in some ways while dogs had to become less aggressive to live with us we also had to become less aggressive and more peaceful towards them. So we've really changed together and we have both become more peaceful.
JM: Brian Hare is one of the scientists participating in the Kids' Science Challenge, our free nationwide competition for 3rd to 6th graders. Check out kidsciencechallenge.com. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.