Chapter 3: A Sniff of Love
How social hormones influence our relationships and longevity
How humans self-domesticated
"On one youtube video, Boris and Sophie, two rather cute pets, show off their tricks: they sit and lay down when prompted, then shake paws and spin in exchange for treats. If it wasn’t for their magnificent, bushy tails and unusually high-pitched yelps, the animals could have been mistaken for dogs. In reality, Boris and Sophie are foxes — domesticated silver foxes from Siberia, to be precise.
In 1959 a Russian geneticist named Dmitry Belyaev set up to test a new research idea: he started breeding wild silver foxes, selecting the animals for their lack of aggression or fear towards humans. Yet after a few years — or about eight to ten fox generations — a weird thing happened: some of the foxes started to resemble dogs in both their behaviour and looks....." [excerpt from Growing Young]
Chimps (left) vs bonobos (right) -- they make look similar, but they behave very differently (tip: while you might wander into a cage full of bonobos and leave unscathed, venturing into chimp territory is far more dangerous)
Domesticated animals have white forehead patches and white tips of tails -- here Roger, my cocker spaniel. Domestication is also the reason why humans have pink lips, and so do bonobos.
Good animal moms have oxytocin-loaded kids.
For further reading:
Can oxytocin sprays make your partner more faithful?
What are the links between social hormones and living to 100?
Can some gene polymorphisms make you more prone to thinking about divorce?
Why do humans have pink lips (and what does it say about our characters)?
Can looking into your dog's eyes boost your health?
Why are hugs good for longevity?
Answers to these questions (and much more!) in the book