A evolutionary interlude for the holiday

Note that cats are barely intelligently designed, since most, including members of the breed, are much closer to their wild ancestors than are various dog breeds. Remember the sad specimen at bottom was artificially selected from an ancestor depicted at the top.

3pajphd

h/t: John S.

47 Comments

  1. Stephen Barrett
    Posted November 24, 2016 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    At the risk of facing Professor Ceiling Cat’s ire, the Product of Evolution specimen – Wolf? Husky? – is beautiful.

    • jaxkayaker
      Posted November 24, 2016 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      And an efficient apex predator. The bottom creature is more of a nadir predator at best.

      • Achrachno
        Posted November 24, 2016 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

        But I wonder if pugs have not been more evolutionarily successful than wolves in recent decades. I see them all the time, but I never see wolves, and many wolf populations are endangered and becoming more so.

      • loren russell
        Posted November 24, 2016 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

        The wolf is apex predator only thanks to humans [teamed with domesticated wolves no doubt]. In early Holocene landscape of western North America, we had a number of big cats [including sabers] and some formidable bears [grizzly and short face, at least] in the mix. Oh yes, and dire wolf.. Not one apex but lots of nasty angles. Hiking would have been a bitch around here if the big game hunters hadn’t made their sweep.

      • Posted November 25, 2016 at 11:54 am | Permalink

        It seems a lot of dogs are scavengers, or mutualists, not predators any more.

    • Merilee
      Posted November 24, 2016 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I love a dog with a good, unsquished, schnoz. Same with cats!

  2. jeremiad1958
    Posted November 24, 2016 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    The same has to be said for flowers (designed by insects), peacocks (designed by peahens), and many aspects of the mind of man, whose cunning was able to understand these reflections!

  3. jeremiad1958
    Posted November 24, 2016 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    The same must be said for flowers (designed by insect minds), peacocks (designed by peahen minds), and many aspects of the “mind of man” (designed by opposite-sex human minds) that makes it able to reflect on these things.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted November 24, 2016 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      And the reverse is also true since flowers have long been selective breeders of pollinating insects.

  4. Posted November 24, 2016 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    As a rebuttal, I offer what humans did with this species. From this:

    to this:

    • Posted November 25, 2016 at 12:28 am | Permalink

      Personally I find filled flowers uglier than their natural, more functional counterparts, but de gustibus non est disputandum I guess.

      • Dominic
        Posted November 25, 2016 at 3:42 am | Permalink

        Agreed – too many petals often defeating insect pollinators which prefer single petal varieties…

  5. Posted November 24, 2016 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Munchkin cats are pretty close to being the pug of cats. Or rather the dachshund of cats. Poor little stumpy things.

  6. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted November 24, 2016 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    I know many toy breeds of dogs, and I often find myself apologizing to them for what we have done.

  7. Ken Phelps
    Posted November 24, 2016 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    That second “dog” looks like the sort of thing the late and lamented Crusher, a leonine looking orange long-haired stray that lived with us for 15 years, would have enjoyed tuning up.

  8. Posted November 24, 2016 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Qualzucht or “torture-breeding” of this sort is a crime in Switzerland now

  9. floydpinkerton
    Posted November 24, 2016 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Be careful, lest the GMO crowd pick up on this…

    • floydpinkerton
      Posted November 24, 2016 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      Edit: I meant anti-GMO crowd.

  10. Posted November 24, 2016 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Ahahaha, this just made my day.

  11. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted November 24, 2016 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    He he he.

  12. rose
    Posted November 24, 2016 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    This morning my cat followed me into the bathroom and jumped in the tub. She never does that so i said to her you want water? I checked her water dish and sure enough it was empty so gave her some. She drank it right away. Now to me she was able to tell me what she needed.

  13. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted November 24, 2016 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    That ??dog?? in the bottom picture – I think someone should loosen its collar, urgently.

    ct

  14. Posted November 24, 2016 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    I have a pug. Despite their reputation as one of the least intelligent breeds, prone to hip problems, intestinal issues, eye injuries and ear infections among others, they simply use these traits to disguise their ferocity on the battlefield. What they lack in stature, they make up for in pure killer instinct. (I have not witnessed this firsthand in my own 12.5 year old pug, but I have faith that he’d decimate an intruder straight away.)

  15. Diana MacPherson
    Posted November 24, 2016 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    I’ll just leave this here for everyone’s amusement.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted November 24, 2016 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

      sub

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted November 24, 2016 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      Love it!

      Not that I’m a dog lover, but I could almost get to like that Lab.

      cr

    • Diane G.
      Posted November 24, 2016 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      That’s hilarious!😀

    • Posted November 25, 2016 at 3:37 am | Permalink

      Labs! nature’s food hoovers- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYTSS14SFY0

      I own a GSD, he is like the GSD in the video, chews his food thoughtfully.

      • Merilee
        Posted November 25, 2016 at 9:30 am | Permalink

        Mine’s a GSD/Lab cross, thus the hoovering falls somewhere in between. She sometimes speeds up when being “vulched” by her two kitties.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted November 25, 2016 at 9:58 am | Permalink

          My lab enjoys food but she’s not super gluttonous and eats unusually slowly for a lab. She’s high stim and slim though.

          • Posted November 25, 2016 at 10:58 am | Permalink

            I love labs though; Archer has a number of Lab pals and they’re SUCH sweet dogs.

  16. nicky
    Posted November 24, 2016 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    Note that the creationist crowd would probably say: ‘Created by God, and micro-evolved by man’ 😣

  17. Mike
    Posted November 25, 2016 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    Much prefer the Wolf and the larger breeds that are nearer to the original model, than some of those really strange ones.

  18. peepuk
    Posted November 25, 2016 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Their both not intelligently designed.

  19. Posted November 25, 2016 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Prof. Coyne,

    Dogs have been artificial selected for sure, but to say only that, I think, it implies that’s all there is to it. I’ve read the fantastic book about dog psychology and evolution written by evolutionary anthropologist Brian Hare.

    According to Hare, we did not artificial selected “wolves” into dogs directly, but the wolves less afraid and less aggressive towards humans had a great advantage to live/reach near humans: food source, such as the one present in humans garbage.

    In a few generations, those less aggressive wolves also started to show some morphological changes, such as changes in collor, some might developed floppy ears, and so on. That helped humans to tell the difference between aggressive and less aggressive wolves.

    In my interview with Brian Hare (yet to be published), he mentioned exactly this difference to me. Once these changes were there, we could artificially selected dogs, for example, to have bigger ears, etc.

    This line of research is fascinating. It’s related to the big experiment done by Belyaev with Foxes. Conducting tests with those Foxes, Hare collected (more) evidence that domestication (selection against aggression) drove the cognitive difference we see in dogs (their remarkable skills of reading humans gestures/communicative intentions).

  20. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted November 25, 2016 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Every time I see a picture of one of those hairless cat breeds – Sphinxes, that sort of thing – I think of it as a product of Malignant Design.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted November 25, 2016 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      I think hat about those poor cats with pushed in noses that have breathing issues because of it. Breeders should have their noses messed up so they can’t breath either, as punishment for their cruelty.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted November 25, 2016 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

        If you’re into SF, there’s a delightful couple of stories out there by Piers Anthony, which he penned for one of the “Dangerous Visions” anthologies … and Harlan Ellison wimped out of publishing them as being too brutal.
        Mr Anthony has a slightly frightening capacity for creative realistic nightmares.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted November 26, 2016 at 10:17 am | Permalink

          Yes I will check that out. I have a feeling you and/or Ben mentioned those before. I think you mentioned the Hyperion series and I’m on the last book of that and really liked it.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted November 26, 2016 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

            Hyperion isn’t one I’ve read. Blame Ben.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted November 27, 2016 at 10:05 am | Permalink

              Ha! Okay.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted November 25, 2016 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      +1

      Nice phrase

      cr

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted November 25, 2016 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

        It was designed. With malign intent.
        I first came up with it while trying to think of how to describe the “design” of the human back.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted November 26, 2016 at 1:41 am | Permalink

          🙂

          cr

  21. Posted November 25, 2016 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    Our sadly departed, 8 lb. Toy Poodle, Tuffy,
    hiked, camped, and backpacked with us for many years. I saw him chase off dogs 10 times his size and cattle many times bigger than that. He was fearless. He was a super-smart animal
    and, although one might have been concerned about him dying in a Darwin Award, it never happened. He’s been gone 30 – 40 years and is still missed.


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