Wolf Domestication: An Agent-based Simulation
Arts and Sciences
Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Wolves are among the earliest known animals to be domesticated. However, the mechanism by which gray wolves were domesticated into dogs is still unknown. The prevailing domestication hypothesis is that humans selectively bred the gray wolves that were more docile. However, there is a more recent hypothesis which states that wolves which were less hostile towards humans would essentially domesticate themselves by naturally selecting for such wolves because of the availability of food near human settlements. Simulating the process would help demonstrate whether it was possible wolves were domesticated simply via natural selection. Previously published mathematical models are based on systems of differential equations, and these models have critical simplifications such as homogeneous and randomly mixed populations. Therefore, we created an agent-based model which has single trait evolution, user-defined and literature-based parameters, and sexual reproduction. We used Latin hypercube sampling to conduct a sensitivity analysis on the model to determine the robustness of our results. Under certain conditions, the model predicts domestication via natural selection.
Kulwicki, Ryan and Capaldi, Alex, "Wolf Domestication: An Agent-based Simulation" (2019). Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE). 770.