- By Norman Fine
It is accepted science that dogs evolved from wolves about fifteen thousand years ago. One can imagine, back in primitive times, certain needy wolves sidling up to man for food and shelter. Or orphaned cubs being saved by primitive families. In those relationships that proved successful, both wolf and man discovered advantages. Even disregarding love and companionship (those were harder times), the wolf was assured access to food and shelter in all seasons, and man discovered a hunting partner that contributed to his well-being and that of his family. The domesticated wolves, genetically disposed to the relationship, bred with others so disposed, and succeeding generations over the millennia evolved into purpose-bred dogs.
But just how did that evolution occur? It hasn’t been recorded. What if you could speed up the process and witness it? Two Soviet geneticists tried to do just that. They wanted to try to breed foxes as friendly to people as dogs, and this is their story—“part science, part Russian fairy tale, and part spy thriller,” says The New York Times Book Review.