Hand-raised to support theory

By: James V. Kohl | Published on: December 7, 2013

3 December 2013 4:15 pm

Excerpt: “All the animals were born in captivity and hand-raised in packs at the Wolf Science Center in Game Park Ernstbrunn, Austria. Like the dog pups, the young wolves were most likely to find a hidden treat in a meadow if they first watched a human…”

See also: Complete Mitochondrial Genomes of Ancient Canids Suggest a European Origin of Domestic Dogs [subscription required]

My comment: “The epigenetic effects of nutrients on evolved differences in the diet and starch digestion of dogs and wolves (Axelsson et al., 2013) were detailed at the same time differences in the socialization of these subspecies were attributed to explorations involving only chemosensory input in 3 to 4-week-old wolf pups. For comparison, differences in starch digestion and exploration involving multisensory input in dogs begin a mere 2 weeks later (Lord, 2013). The differences in nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled socialization, however, extend across a life-time of more aggressive behavior in wolves that have not been domesticated because less digested starch from their diet genetically predisposes infants to first respond to olfactory/pheromonal cues as they initially explore their postnatal environment.” — Kohl (2013)

Hand-raised wolf-pups probably begin their explorations at the same time and in the same way as dogs. What this study professes to be similarities in visually based cause and effects — associated with hormones that affect differences in species-wide behaviors —  occurs after they eliminate differences in the epigenetic effects of olfactory/pheromonal input during critical periods of behavioral development (i.e., at 3-4 weeks in wolf pups, and 2 weeks later in dogs).

A theory suggests cause and effect are visual, but no model of direct effects of visual input on hormones and behavior has been established. Thus, observed behaviors show precisely what the researchers expect them to show.

This is what happened with studies of birds. Early ethologists didn’t consider the fact that the sense of smell might influence avian behavior. They simply observed the birds and made up stories about similarities across species, such as this one. Now, to keep their stories straight, theorists must design studies that eliminate species differences in behavior, which are nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled in species from microbes to man.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Want more on the same topic?

Swipe/Drag Left and Right To Browse Related Posts: