Trichoglyphs, Behavioral Traits, and a Russian Fox

Who would think the common hair whorl could spawn such genetic and behavioral implications?Trichoglyphs, or hair whorls in horses and cows and the direction of the whorl can predict certain behaviors such as left and right handedness and temperament. The higher the hair whorl in a horse, the more flighty and unpredictable the horses behavior. Dressage and jumping horses tend to be highly athletic and ambidextrous and double hair whorls are common in the sport. The clockwise or counterclockwise rotation of the whorl can also determine handedness in horses, and in K9’s making dog selection for guide and service dogs an important predictor in success. Right eye dominant dogs are less distractible when being led, and choosing the correct dog for such purposes can save time and training costs. “Dogs are both left- and right-handed, he explained, and this has an influence on their selection as guide dogs for the blind because the dogs are trained to work on a person’s left side. He cited a 2012 study in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research that showed that success was higher for right-preferent and ambidextrous dogs, and that the presence of a whorl on the dog’s left side of the head and thorax was associated with a right visual bias.

Abnormal and multiple trichoglyphs are common in birth defects in humans. Most notable in correlation with brain function abnormality. Hair follicle develops at the same time and from the same material as brain development in embryos.

Russian Fox Experiment

Dmitri K. Belyaev, a Russian scientist, may be the man most responsible for our understanding of the process by which wolves were domesticated into our canine companions. Article Here

Belyaev domesticated 40 generations of silver fox, retaining only foxes with mild temeperment towards human interaction. Not only did the foxes eventually behave like domestic dogs, but their physical characteristics changed as well. Drooping ears, changes in fur and odors were significant as well as cranial and jaw structures.

“Even Darwin noted, in On the Origin of Species, that “not a single domestic animal can be named which has not, in some country, drooping ears.” Drooping ears is a feature that does not ever occur in the wild, except for in elephants. And domesticated animals possess characteristic changes in behavior compared with their wild brethren, such as a willingness or even an eagerness to hang out with humans. If you don’t think evolution is possible, look at how one simple seemingly harmless invisible trait can virtually change the whole animal in a relatively short time frame.

What about us?

As we began our own “domestication” process 12,500 years ago, what were we like? Who were we? What changes in physical features and thought have happened to us? What caused us to collaborate our superstitions into groups defending and promoting a god? Has “civilizing” turned us superstitious and neurotic, or were we always that way?

Author: jim-

One minute info blogs breaking the faith trap.

30 thoughts on “Trichoglyphs, Behavioral Traits, and a Russian Fox”

  1. Thanks for linking me here. An interesting post and great set of questions at the end. Droopy ears? What about cats? The only time domestic cats exhibit droopy ears is when they are infected with something. Do cows and horses have droopy ears? Not on my farm! How about donkeys or burros? But that droopy ear thing is easily explained for me. Elephants have no real natural enemies, so they don’t need to live in a state of constant alertness to predatory sounds. Therefore they don’t need to “prick” their ears. Animals that have become prey need to be able to hear any predators approaching, hence “pricked” ears at all times. Domestic animals fall into a different category: the only predator they need to fear is man himself and how could they tell if the man is approaching with benign or evil intentions? Ears won’t help, so let them droop.
    I don’t subscribe to the evolution theory because it’s simply silly. If it was a natural process we would be observing all sorts of critters in the process of turning from this into that, or into something never seen before. What we observe instead is the opposite: mutants are usually failures and nature does away with them. I do however subscribe from observation to the concept of adaptation. That makes total sense. Some – very few – wild animals adapt to living as domesticated, and some domestic animals can revert to living in the wild. But overall, there is a genetic(?) unbridgeable gap between domestic and wild animals and birds, exceptions noted, as I pointed out, arrived at through the ability to adapt.
    A thought: what if these adaptable wild to domestic creatures were once domestic and they possess a trait that makes a return to domesticity possible? Just a thought to ponder. We know so little about ourselves and our world and our assumptions are constantly filling the canoe with water. Some day we may get tired of bailing the canoe and just let it sink…

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    1. I don’t subscribe to the evolution theory because it’s simply silly”. Not so fast. We see these reversing changes as well in feral children raised by wolves, monkeys, and even antelope boy, developing acute hearing and smell, even prepubescent body hair in some of these kids.
      Applying them in a pure robust and primitive setting they are simply not human, but sometimes super human. The antelope boy was captured (but it took several men and a Jeep) and he was clocked ay 40 km/h. I know the sampling is small, but it makes me wonder. If we were created to be slaves as you suggest, were we were once strong and agile, requiring little maintenance are now even a burden to ourselves in the wild (I’m most cases). I don’t think it’s that easily dismissed.

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      1. In my mind’s world, exceptions prove the rule. The same observations I made regarding wild to domestic (or vice versa) animals applies to people. These wild or ‘feral’ children could be carrying genes from wild forebears, so instead of becoming easy prey to wild animals or dying, they are recognized as belonging and not as the human enemy. Being adaptable, they survive then blend in. Remember the “myth” of Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome who were suckled by a wolf? You are probably looking at regression, or atavism and not “evolution” at all. After all wouldn’t “evolution” mean that a species is evolving to something better, something improved? In what way are these feral people improved over rank and file humanity? They haven’t evolved, they have adapted to a disappearing wilderness. If being able to run at 40 klicks and hour is evolution, what purpose would that serve when chased by a Jeep or Kubota? A helicopter? If we are evolved, why are we still relegating our accomplishments as “man made” rather than as a result of natural evolution? Why won’t we give nature the credit?
        Your other question about created to be slaves (my view) is not easily answered because it requires serious studies of archaeological finds and interpretations of very ancient clay tablet records. If cloning is our beginning and we were made from two sources, one proto-human and the other alien, then we were never super human, quite the opposite. We were designed to be small of stature, tough but short lived and with limited ability to reason. Over time we developed our reasoning power and that is what made us, not super human, but able to develop into societies of tool makers and users; able to build complex structures for various uses. Most importantly for the situation we find ourselves in today, we were able to expand by using and abusing all aspects of our natural environment. Some atavistic types did not ‘civilize’ and gradually returned to living relatively natural lives more in cooperation with nature than against it. Ah, the story that is attached to that aspect of man’s spread over the planet…

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  2. Very interesting post Jim. I think it makes for more questions than answers (we know so little). Foxes in the UK are persecuted like your Coyotes, and it also increases the birth rate. Direct response to threats. I shall have to go read up on the Russian study. I have limited data so can’t watch Youtube (except when using up an unused allowance at the end of my billing month, but the other links sound interesting. 😊

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  3. Maybe religion was invented to make sure there’s order but slowly it degeneration into something else. Why does every religion preach only peace? There’s something common in every religion and that’s superstition. 🙂

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  4. Yes humans are very cruel to animals but remember, god said we have dominion over them. Ridiculous!

    Man is a Religious Animal. He is the only Religious Animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion — several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat if his theology isn’t straight. He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother’s path to happiness and heaven… The higher animals have no religion. And we are told that they are going to be left out in the Hereafter. I wonder why? It seems questionable taste.

    — Mark Twain, The Lowest Animal

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  5. Jim, can you provide a source for the link between hair whorls and human brain development? I’m really interested in reading more on that. My youngest daughter has a huge cowlick right in the front, and as an infant her hair was essentially uncombable, because she had several spirals instead of the usual single spiral. She also has ADD, social anxiety and Aspergers. I had never considered that there was any link!

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    1. From my understanding the hair works are a byproduct of the rate of brain growth during fetal development. They initiate in the same germ layers. There are many studies and I’ll see if I can sift through them today to find a concise presentation. Very inteeesting

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  6. I was just thinking the same thing about cats. Also I have a cowlick and I wonder what that means about my brain. Ha!
    Very interesting article though.

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    1. Mary according to the USGS your brain is solid. Your past comments have proven more durable than a El Capitan and just as magnificent.

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  7. From now on I shall most definitely been on the look-out for drooping ears. I suspect that Branyan has very likely begun to exhibit this trait.
    I hope he doesn’t pass it on in his jeans. Or even his genes.

    Point of interest re: dropping ears: Are we to consider that cats do not fall into the purview of ”domestic”?

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    1. I thought about that and I don’t know. Maybe cats are impervious to drooping like Branyan is impervious to contradiction

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        1. Droopy puss can be linked to apologetics. Lab rats have shown if someone makes enough excuses for them they prolapse their brains and frequently other organs manifest this phenomenon as well.

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          1. Sounds like Branyan’s disease all right. I understand the cure for those affected is an all-night prayer vigil while reading the Adult Version of the bible – fully illustrated – while high on meth, followed by listening to a 2hr session of Hawkwind’s Sonic Attack and then Pink Floyd’s Brain Damage for an hour.

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    2. These foxes were only selected based on temperament. Maybe Cats have been bred for size and and color. Also, these dogs pass on the physical traits developed by breeding for friendliness. Nothing else. Each species would probably require its own experiment. There has been a war on the American coyote for 100 years. We still kill nearly a million a year and have not affected the population one bit. When coyotes are pressured they have larger litters. Left alone they have small litters. You can decimate 70% of the population every year and they’ll maintain their numbers. The US government knows this data. That cruelty needs to stop, but the coyote is the most resilient mammal in the US. Remarkable and adaptive. They’re seen in cities and towns and all around. Fantastic creatures!

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