Fox-breeding experiment suggests domestication can boost brain size

A silver fox (Vulpes vulpes)

Zoonar GmbH / Alamy

Our understanding of how domestication changes the neurobiology of a species may be wrong, results from a 60-year experiment to breed tame foxes suggest. The findings could also have implications for human evolution, claim researchers.

Usually, domesticated animals have smaller brains than their wild counterparts, but foxes raised in a Russian fox farm experiment in Novosibirsk haven’t followed that trend. On the contrary, fox lines purposefully bred for either a good or a bad relationship with humans had larger brains than those that weren’t, says Erin …

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