Biological evolution is the process of a species ability to successfully reproduce  Some individuals within the population reproduce more successfully than others and their traits are said to be adaptive, they contribute more to the phenotype, physical and behavioral traits of the population. The basic principles of evolution occur through natural selection and within a given environment some traits that are present are more successful than others.

Speciation is the evolutionary process by which new biological species arise. There are several hypotheses on how dogs became domesticated. Clutton-Brock (1995) presents that the ecological niche and selective pressure applied when pups were adopted by villagers would have lead to the speciation of the “dog.” David Paxton proposes that while humans were nomadic, wolves would have taken advantage of waste products left by nomadic groups and in return their close proximity would have provided protection against predators.  Coppinger and Schneider (1995) also believe dogs came into closer contact with humans post the nomadic period. Wolves with a lower flight distance, a variable trait, would have taken advantage of settlement dumps. There is a common consensus amongst researchers that Coppingers dump dog theory is more plausible. However it is possible that components of all three hypotheses have contributed to the speciation of dogs.

Niki Tudge Copyright 2011