These domesticated foxes were 60 years in the making

Scientists are uncovering new clues to the origins of domestication in an unlikely creature: foxes. After nearly 60 years of selective breeding in Siberia, there are a few rare foxes that are pretty unafraid of people. So, of course, we wanted to meet them.

The story goes back to 1959, when geneticist Dmitri Belyaev set out to try domestication from the very beginning. He had this idea that was radical for its time: domesticated animals like dogs are friendly because of genes that govern their behavior. Meaning, the process that turned wolves into dogs thousands and thousands of years ago was essentially evolution.

So Belyaev began selectively breeding foxes: the ones that weren’t as aggressive or afraid of people were allowed to have…

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