Chautauqua Lecture Videos


Rapid Evolution: How to Tame a Fox and Build a Dog [Video]

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Lee Alan Dugatkin is an Evolutionary Biologist, Behavioral Ecologist, Historian of Science, Distinguished University Scholar and Professor of Biology at the University of Louisville. He is the author 9 books, including Principles of Animal Behavior; Mr. Jefferson and the Giant Moose (the subject of a previous Chautauqua lecture); The Altruism Equation; and most recently How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog): Visionary Scientists and a Siberian Tale of Jump-Started Evolution. Co-written with Lyudmila Trut – a professor of evolutionary genetics at the Institute of Cytology and Genetics, in Novosibirsk, Siberia, and one of the principal investigators along with Dmitri Belyaev in the original experiment – How to Tame a Fox has received critical acclaim from all quarters, including Scientific American, the LA Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, Science News, and the New York Times, which called it “sparkling… a story that is part science, part Russian fairy tale, and part spy thriller.”

Delyaev and Trut’s experiment to ‘jump-start’ evolution and to domesticate foxes has been hailed as a “landmark experiment,” “one of the world’s most important animal studies,” and “one of the most influential biological studies ever” by a range of notable scholars. In their book, Trut and Dugatkin tell the story of the adventure, science, politics, and love behind the now 60-year old and still ongoing study. They take the reader inside the path-breaking experiment in the midst of the brutal winters of Siberia to reveal how scientific history was made and continues to be made today. To date, fifty-six generations of foxes have been domesticated, and we continue to learn significant lessons from them about the genetic and behavioral evolution of domesticated animals. How to Tame a Fox offers an incredible tale of scientists at work, while also celebrating the deep attachments that have brought humans and animals together throughout time.

Part of the Chautauqua Lecture Series: Transformations (2017-2018)


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Copyright 2018 Lee Alan Dugatkin