Mathematical Modeling of the Evolution of the Domestic Dog
Arts and Sciences
The domestication of the gray wolf (Canis lupus) is generally thought to be the earliest example of animal domestication by humans. Yet, the processes which gave rise to it are still relatively unknown. There are two prominent hypotheses: that the wolf was domesticated by human intentional breeding or that wolves essentially domesticated themselves. In the latter case, wolves who were more tolerant of humans and more willing to enter early human settlements gained an evolutionary advantage over those that were not willing to do so. We have developed an agent-based (mathematical and computer) model (ABM) to simulate this second scenario. The model incorporates availability of food sources, time spent with humans, the tameness of the wolves, reproduction, and death, with the values of these parameters being informed by the literature. Ultimately, we would also like to build an ABM of the first scenario (human intentional breeding) with the goal of comparing simulated domestication times of the two scenarios to archaeology evidence of when wolves were domesticated. This would allow us to determine which hypothesis is most probable.
Hire, Ashley; Revor, Michael; and Iselin, Samuel, "Mathematical Modeling of the Evolution of the Domestic Dog" (2018). Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE). 714.