In 1959, Soviet geneticist Dmitri Belyaev started an ambitious experiment to study the origins of domestication -- he would attempt to breed domesticated wild foxes by selecting on their behavior alone, a process he imagined our ancestors carried out with dogs thousands of years before.
This hour, we look at the history and progress of this more-than-50-year experiment: What can it tell us about our animal companions -- and ourselves?
Plus, we catch up with some domesticated fox owners and find out if foxes are good pets in real life.
- Amy and David Bassett - Founders of the Judith A. Bassett Canid Education and Conservation Center in San Diego, and the owners of several Russian domesticated foxes
- Lee Dugatkin - Author of How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog): Visionary Scientists and a Siberian Tale of Jump-Started Evolution
- Jacob Mikanowski - Writes about science, history, and art for The Guardian, Prospect, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Aeon, and others
Colin McEnroe, Jonathan McNicol, and Chion Wolf contributed to this show, which originally aired on July 26, 2017.