APRIL Meeting

Evolution of Behavior in Wolves and Dogs

Presented by Dr. Kathryn Lord,

University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester
Wednesday April 19, 2016
7:00pm at the Tollman Auditorium
Springfield Science Museum

It is often assumed that dogs are not able to survive outside of a human home and that dogs living in city streets or in garbage dumps are there as the result of owner neglect. Free-living dogs have a higher pup mortality rate and lack the complex parental care present in their wild counterparts, leading to the view that domestication resulted in loss of a set of traits key to survival in the wild.

In this talk, Dr. Lord will argue that dogs have instead evolved new behaviors that increase their survival and reproductive success in their current environment. She will also discuss the implications of these findings for management of the hundreds of millions of free-living dogs inhabiting the world today.

Dr. Kathryn Lord, who received her Ph.D. at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, has extensive experience in the comparative behavior of canids. She has raised many litters of wolves and is now embarking on a project to understand the genetic underpinnings of behavioral differences among dogs, wolves, and dog-wolf hybrids. Dr. Lord is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester