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We met the world’s first domesticated foxes

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This week, we meet the very cute and very bizarre result of an almost 60-year-long experiment: they’re foxes that have been specially bred for their dog-like friendliness toward people. We do a little behavior research of our own, and discover what scientists continue to learn from the world’s most famous experiment in domestication. The fox experiment continues under the supervision of Lyudmila Trut at the Institute of Cytology and Genetics. Her book “How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog)”, co-authored by Lee Alan Dugatkin, details the history and science behind the experiment. Subscribe: Like Verge Science on Facebook: Follow on Twitter: Follow on Instagram: Read More: Community guidelines: Subscribe to Verge on YouTube for explainers, product reviews, technology news, and more: gene editing
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Text Comments (17709)
Verge Science (5 months ago)
Should we be domesticating wild animals?
Harper Ant (18 days ago)
Hasven the Man (25 days ago)
Josh Evans (25 days ago)
No leave nature alone
Steve Jarvis (27 days ago) North American House Hippo
Matthew Stauffer (6 minutes ago)
Cats aren’t domesticated, it’s a myth
ebisawkward (5 hours ago)
Summer M (8 hours ago)
As soon as they catch a glimpse of the wild they'll be gone
Taylor Talbert (9 hours ago)
Science is amazing but all of this is totally useless and pointless
Dave Marx (10 hours ago)
(Insert MetalGear reference)
Dave Marx (10 hours ago)
Fox.... ....DIE
ArchEnema 67 (11 hours ago)
Most of the important research was done by Ludmilla Trut. Do more vetting before you post.
B1rdátor (12 hours ago)
Jimmy Breck-McKye (12 hours ago)
2:16 - did not know PlayStation button symbols are based on DNA, thanks The Verge!
protest youtube (12 hours ago)
completely ignored that foxes are solitary? while wolves and dogs are pack animals? you can train a fox to not be hostile but its still going to ignore you and do its own thing. in that respect, you probably have to think of it more as a cat.
Adam Smith (18 hours ago)
Some humans need domesticating from wild genes
Brian Valero (20 hours ago)
What about raising foxes side by side with a smaller dog
Ellis Sutton (1 day ago)
Something that would be very interesting is if scientists attempted to domesticate wolves in order to better understand the domestication of dogs. I don't know if that's ethical, but that's a completely different story.
Vark Anon (1 day ago)
Can we do this to people please? [joking obviously :)]
0123456789channel (1 day ago)
so... domesticated foxes are basically cats...
Ethan Xenon (1 day ago)
Pun intended?
darikai219 (1 day ago)
I wonder if any/all foxes magnetic perception (?) deteriorates when domesticated
a lot of tea (1 day ago)
*while people are dying from cancer and we still haven't found a cure* People: *LETS DOMESTICATE FOXES*
aeshir (1 day ago)
anyone interested in the dog side of this equation, I recommend reading Brian Hare's "The Genius of Dogs." it'll totally blow your mind
Lord Splynter (1 day ago)
Ok, now teach 'em to say: *_"WAPAPAPAPOW HATEE HATEE HO"_*
Uncle Nuts (1 day ago)
Waste of time and money. You should be doing this with Grizzlies so they can be rode into battle.
XxGaMiNGxSNiPERxX KiNG (1 day ago)
Btw this isn’t the first
The Keto Chief (2 days ago)
a fox in the wild will attack a person in destress as 99% of the time a wolf will leave are come and see if you need help. now I am not telling people to trust a wolf just saying they are less dangerus them a fox. out of all wild animals they are the most trusting.
The Good Philosopher (2 days ago)
I think is nice. But not using a leash
Moozle Yak (2 days ago)
I find it to be a rather amusing choice to have a ginger meet a fox. Maybe that's what kept him at bay..
Tom Jones (2 days ago)
"we can associate behavior with dna" verge is becoming racist
Andrei Manea (2 days ago)
they actually seem like a dog and a cat combined they are as energic and curious as a dog but tiny as a cat and looks are of a cat
james friel (2 days ago)
lol love the difference. Then we let the dog in.. "hey hey HEY HUMAN! play with me!"
Mickaela Thrush (2 days ago)
I don't believe they ever feared humans just were Leary about trusting people.
Debasish Dutta (2 days ago)
Domesticating Humans would result in Slavery
Luiz Lopes (3 days ago)
Sips' Number One Fan (3 days ago)
Sub 2 Pewds
Mr. Furious (3 days ago)
Why don’t they continue to breed the foxes and let each generation socialize
Govind Mudhar (3 days ago)
Just another doggo
Niki C (3 days ago)
What I always say is, "Just because you *can* do something, doesn't mean you should do it." Just because we possibly can domesticate these animals, doesn't mean that we should. I would love to own a fox as a pet; they are adorable. But who am I to decide whether or not a fox should change its entire genetics just to pacify my childish wishes? Besides, don't we have enough stray cats and dogs in this world? Do we really need to add another poor animal that had been domesticated and rely on humans to live?
surivids (3 days ago)
You are missing the cat behavior in those fox
ELEVEN time (3 days ago)
Whose phone is that
Kate Chen (3 days ago)
-marshiloo - (3 days ago)
o YourAdopted (3 days ago)
kuruma after becoming friends with naruto
Sir Jake (3 days ago)
I love foxes
Michael Lewis (3 days ago)
Their cat dogs
thefallinglink (3 days ago)
Foxes are more like cat/dog hybrids. Even in the wild they can be incredibly playful, but they're also less... interested in people.
tvh479 (4 days ago)
Next: Domesticated Aliens
FireOfGolden Gamer (4 days ago)
Did you know that... *Fox is just hired cat actor?*
stanley yelnats (4 days ago)
I remember first hearing about these foxes back in 2014
SIRiMAC (4 days ago)
Great video!
Kent Brown (4 days ago)
Maybe they should raise the Fox with dogs and it will pickup on the behavior we want them to
Doug Johnson (4 days ago)
I just want a micro giraffe that poops outside and is extra fuzzy.
j v (4 days ago)
I have a volpino who acts and looks just like those foxes (when i don't brush him). Same mannerisms, super energetic, mischievous, smart, and vocal. Love him but he's a handful.
ALPHA ARX (4 days ago)
All the aggresive foxes were probably killed
Kyle Xtaybyte (4 days ago)
Should we domesticate humans?
Optei Gaming (4 days ago)
They really just met a dog if u think of it
Darian Kimberly (4 days ago)
local fox goes ^w^
Nautilus1972 (4 days ago)
A Professor that studies the relationship between dogs and people? FFS.
Doorhenge (4 days ago)
I want one so I can teach it to _"do a barrel roll"_
yasuo windwall (4 days ago)
this is nothing compared to our silly fox ronron
Sanji Han (4 days ago)
Swiper no swiping!!
Luke The Wolf (4 days ago)
I love foxes...I have loved foxes...I will laways love foxes...
actual.lizard (5 days ago)
W TF? (5 days ago)
Skin them and make them into warm coats!
Pepper F0X (5 days ago)
Time to save up to 9,000 dollars!
Scrub (5 days ago)
Any Minecraft 1.14 players?
william kelly (5 days ago)
How long do they livw, 9000 dollars
william kelly (5 days ago)
My corgi is a fox
Sam Vimes (5 days ago)
Setting aside any questions of "should we?" I want one. So adorable. $9000 is too rich for my blood though.
Anonymous Anonymous (5 days ago)
Let's domesticate Lions
IrieWarrior (5 days ago)
Domesticated Foxes? Seriously?? WTF NO!!! Oh look, there a Fox, lets put him in a Cage and teach him how to sit!! Because its stylish, you know!? Poor nature......
Hoho (4 days ago)
how do you think dogs/cats were made? or cows? or any "domesticated animals"?
fish mann (5 days ago)
Without constant human interaction a dog will develop wild traits. You see this in the outskirts of cities that are rundown. They take to packs and become aggressive towards humans. Interesting stuff.
YOYOYO mynaem (5 days ago)
4.8k downvoters that say "pitbulls are just raised that way!!!!"
Gliga Chaz (5 days ago)
Why would you do this?, stupid.
Colton Edmundson (5 days ago)
Give it three hundred years. One day you will go over to one of your friends houses and see his pet fox james
Kiki Lang (5 days ago)
Generation, after generation. You make it sound like it takes a long time. Sixty years? Four or five generations can domesticate a wolf. This is good video, but you are stepping it debate you are un aware of. For the longest time it was thought that it took thousands of year to domesticate an animal. Fur breeders said otherwise. Fur breeders found that animals would become use to humans with four, or five generations. Scientist would poo poo the idea. When fur breeders show animal that seem domesticated, scientist said that wasn't domeseticate, they act nothing like dogs. Then set up all these conditions, which would never happen with the animal fur breeders dealt with. Foxes are drastically different animals, and they are not wolfs. Dogs act the way they do because we adapted preexisting behavaior in wolfs, that fox never had. Some animals adapt to people easily, others not so much. The ancestors of horse adapt to humans, zebras never domesticated, and never would. Wild Ocelots can be adapt be kept by people. Ocelots are wild, and dangerous, but you could never do this lynx. Lynxs have different behavior, and are never safe around people ever. Few people are going to read this poorly written post, and those that do will argure the point. For those that do, think for yourself. Some animal can be domesticate easily, others not so much. So, what's the point? The point is human behaviour. Some people argue that humans are violent, and are behaviour is set in the stone age, and will never change. I'm in the change camp.
CatsRCool (6 days ago)
So now we can domesticate anything?!?!
Hoho (4 days ago)
we always could, just look at dogs, cats, birds.
Ezra Von Hindenburg (6 days ago)
Leave it to Russia...
TurnItoffNow iSaidNow (6 days ago)
Theres too many cats and dogs who need homes.
Punto Devista (6 days ago)
It looks a dog...
Strype McClaine (6 days ago)
Foxes: Cat software running on dog hardware.
Lobster Bisque (6 days ago)
Oh, those Russians...
manoman0 (6 days ago)
The fox, is it a cat or a dog?
freddy bloggs (6 days ago)
I want a 🦊
John Mars (6 days ago)
Actually I think this 60-year-long experiment kinda disproves macro evolution.
Tobias Nick (6 days ago)
1:47 That's one of the wierdest rendition of the lick i've ever head
Bijou Jacob (6 days ago)
Bullshit scientists psycho Russian experiments!
shaunthesheep24 (6 days ago)
It doesn't matter if we raised wolves instead of dogs or tigers instead of cats. Even the animals that we've bred for generations can still to this day at times be unpredictable. The only difference it would have is the risk of injury. If you show compassion to an animal, you can't guarantee that it will return the favor due to its own instinct. Although, I wish I could hug a bear.
OxundHeiner (6 days ago)
tame exotic animals mostly are prestige objects. 😐 but that's not the only route to domestication ☝️ interesting video! i think you could have done a better job explaining the difference between tame and domesticated. in the end there are many domesticated animals not just dogs, cats, meatanimals and horses. and their routes into domestication are inimitable, alone for timing. examples: we have the housemouse and the houserat, who joined for the crops, now very successful as lab-animals 😳. then there are bees and cod (karpfen), pigeons and rabbits. don't forget donkeys. all were domesticated for very different reasons than companionship. there are also reasons to believe taming/reproduction in captivity/domestication on gazelle was attempted but never worked. there is also doubt dogs were meant as companions from the start. in the end this fox domestication experiment is just that: an experiment. it's highly synthetic. there was a also a german experiment done (in kiel institut für haustier-forschung) breeding wolve with poodle. apparently there was an interesting change between the f1and f2 generation.
Most Popular Videos Around (6 days ago)
Marisela C (6 days ago)
Pobresitos animalitos
Big Chungus (6 days ago)
What next domesticate sharks?
Hoho (4 days ago)
it could be possible, but i dont think theres enough demand for it as theyre huge and need much space, but theres people who keep sharks
Frostined (7 days ago)
So it seems the simplest way to continue to domesticate foxes towards the ideal status of mans best friend, is to simply take them as pets and allow them to evolve with humans like dogs did by letting them breed after spending most of their lives with a human owner, interesting.
Nightmare Core (7 days ago)
It's time to become friends with animals, it's just us in this universe,
AkuTenshiiZero (7 days ago)
I like how the dog is like "What is this a circle? Ah **** it, HOOOMAN!!"
SatisfactorySlime (7 days ago)
Not first there's a video uploaded 8 years ago where the man has domesticated fox
Hoho (4 days ago)
Yeah Ron Ron, it died last year if im not wrong, but he got another one
Robert H (7 days ago) It's very sad what China does to humans best friend
Jocelyn Cunningham (7 days ago)
They arent the first domesticated foxes but okay
Brook Cobaugh (7 days ago)
Keep wild animals in the wild.
Hoho (4 days ago)
+Brook Cobaugh it was,it is, and it will. Nothing new
Brook Cobaugh (4 days ago)
Hoho and this is why the planet is undergoing a mass extinction.
Hoho (4 days ago)
So youre telling me you never had a pet and never ate meat? because thats how pets and farmed animals were made:)
Bone Needle (7 days ago)
Good thing they're not wild animals.
Andy (7 days ago)
Then wild 🦊 s would dissapear
Christian Stevens (7 days ago)
Anyone else notice the playstation buttons when he showed the dna clip at 2:10
I Hate PT Cruisers (7 days ago)
Want a cat, want a dog, but can only afford one pet? Buy a fox
princess_jess09 GAMES! (7 days ago)
gamer army *screams* furries "aww just like us!"