Dog, Cats and next maybe Raccoons?
How long did it take for humans to domesticate our dogs and cats from their wild ancestors? It had long been thought domestication occurred within the last 15,000 years. Recent DNA studies however indicate that the Grey Wolf was domesticated 130,000 years ago, and their descendants became the dogs we now play with in our homes.
Could we domesticate the raccoons?
Look how humans have shaped the canine into forms as varied as Saint Bernard and the Chihuahuas.
So maybe those brave folk who choose to co-exist with raccoons as pets are onto something. Are they actually helping raccoons evolve to be human companions? If it takes tens of thousands of years we better get started. And maybe we inadvertently have.
Evolution Always Wins!
Like the ‘county mouse’ and the ‘city mouse’ a divide has developed between the rural raccoon and the urban raccoon. As raccoon populations explode in cities across North America and the rest of the planet, interactions with humans seem to be selectively breeding a different, smarter, more nimble version of raccoon.
Each attempt to keep them out of our homes and trash results is training the ‘best and brightest’ of them to selectively evolve. We are at least breeding them to figure out how to beat our best defenses.
Perhaps we are inadvertently training raccoons to take over for us, if we blow our chance at being the dominant species on the planet. Check out the tabs above for the more of the story!
Studies showing profound environmental events may change the experiences of offspring give hope to the idea that raccoons could one day become house pets. And that day could come faster than in 130,000 thousand years. No one really knows how quickly raccoons could be changed to into proper human companions.
And there is always the mad scientist approach. Is one of Bill Gate’s secret labs experimenting with modifying raccoon DNA right now, crossing it with domesticated dogs? I for one certainly hope so…
What if humans disappear?
There’s numerous ways the entire human race could be wiped out, leaving the planet empty for the next species to take over. What would that be? Our dogs and cats would probably go the Devo route, devolving into their feral ancestors as they do when left to their own defenses. Could Raccoons take over?