Posted by: henrymcghie | January 21, 2010

Studying evolution with the museum’s collection

One of my colleagues here at the university, Dr. Chris Klingenberg, has just had a piece of work published on the evolution of dogs. He and his post-doc, Abby Drake, measured the skulls of dogs and other Carnivores (seals, walrus, weasels, badgers) from our collection and in other museums. The work has just been published in the journal ‘The American Naturalist’.

Abby said:

“We usually think of evolution as a slow and gradual process, but the incredible amount of diversity in domestic dogs has originated through selective breeding in just the last few hundred years, and particularly after the modern purebred dog breeds were established in the last 150 years.”  

and Chris commented:

“This study illustrates the power of Darwinian selection with so much variation produced in such a short period of time. The evidence is very strong.”    

Chris and his students have used our collection for several years, for student projects.

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