Re: Raining Dogs and Cats

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Wed 21 May 2003 - 16:57:07 GMT

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    >From: "Reed Konsler" <>
    >To: <>
    >Subject: Raining Dogs and Cats
    >Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 00:25:08 -0400
    >"You may not have realized but the varieties of dogs are connected by
    >ancestry and all can more or less interbreed (except for possible trouble
    >between Great Danes and Chihuahas) quite easily. These dog breeds are a
    >result of evolution and these dogs are related to wolves and coyotes. I see
    >no trouble using the word dog to refer to the various breeds."
    >Actually, the breeds of dogs, cats, and other domestic animals are a result
    >of artificial human selection, not natural selection. The word "evolution"
    >is normally reserved for a process of natural selection. In _Origin of
    >Species_, for instance, Darwin uses pidgeon breeding as an analogy for
    >natural selection. They aren't "the same" becuase artificial selection has
    >an obvious intent guiding it, where natural selection does not.
    I could be wrong in my use of "evolution" in the context of dog breeds. I'm fallible, unlike some here. I'm obviously capable of being sloppy.

    Yet dogs may indeed stem from a common ancestor (ie- form a monophyletic grouping) and evolution may have played a role via *natural* selection in the early periods of dogs being associated with humans and diverging from their wild ancestors. If modern breeding techniques, an artificial form of stabilizing selection (once an AKC standard has been arrived at via artificial directional selection) aren't evolutionary *per se*, this does not detract much from my point that "dog" has more merit than "meme". Unlike memes, we are pretty sure dogs exist.

    Now when you are reserving the term "evolution" for natural selection are you excluding other possiblitities such as genetic drift?

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