This is sort of depressing. Dogs have been bred for generations to favor those slavishly faithful and attention-seeking traits that make them seem so stupid. No one would dare try such a trick with cats
Dog brains, as reports the The New York Times, “have become exquisitely tuned to our own minds. Scientists are now zeroing in on some of the genes that were crucial to the rewiring of dog brains.
“Their results are fascinating, and not only because they can help us understand how dogs turned into man’s best friend. They may also teach us something about the evolution of our own brains: Some of the genes that evolved in dogs are the same ones that evolved in us.
“To trace the change in dog brains, scientists have first had to work out how dog breeds are related to one another, and how they’re all related to wolves. Ya-Ping Zhang, a geneticist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, has led an international network of scientists who have compared pieces of DNA from different canines. They’ve come to the conclusion that wolves started their transformation into dogs in East Asia.
“Those early dogs then spread to other parts of the world. Many of the breeds we’re most familiar with, like German shepherds and golden retrievers, emerged only in the past few centuries.
“Meanwhile, back in China, those early dogs lingered on for thousands of years. Today, they’re known as Chinese native dogs. “The Chinese native dogs live in rural villages, helping humans to guard homes,” Dr. Zhang explained in an e-mail.”
More at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/16/science/dogs-from-fearsome-predator-to-mans-best-friend.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0
Apparently, visitors to Key West’s Ernst Hemingway Museum are often tickled by all of the weird cats the place has. Yes cats. in fact, pthe lace is overrun with cats who all have six toes
“The so-called Hemingway cats — who for generations have stretched out on Hemingway’s couch, curled up on his pillow and mugged for the Papa-razzi,” reports todays New York Times. “Tour guides recount over and over how the gypsy cats descend from Snowball, a fluffy white cat who was a gift to the Hemingways. Seafaring legend has it that polydactyl cats (those with extra toes) bring a bounty of luck, which certainly explains their own pampered good fortune.
“But it seems the charms of even 45 celebrated six-toed cats have proved powerless against one implacable foe: federal regulators.
“The museum’s nine-year bid to keep the cats beyond the reach of the Department of Agriculture ended in failure this month. The United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled that the agency has the power to regulate the cats under the Animal Welfare Act, which applies to zoo and traveling circus animals, because the museum uses them in advertisements, sells cat-related merchandise online and makes them available to paying tourists.
“In other words, the cats are a living, breathing exhibit and require a federal license.
“’The most ludicrous part of the whole thing is that if we were really dealing with the health and welfare of the cats, this would have never been an issue,’ said Michael A. Marowski, the great-nephew of the woman who bought the Hemingway house in 1961, the year Hemingway died, and opened it as a museum in 1964.”
Full story at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/23/us/cats-at-hemingway-museum-draw-a-legal-battle.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0