In one colony, the rats have been bred for tameness in the hope of mimicking the mysterious process by which Neolithic farmers first domesticated an animal still kept today. When a visitor enters the room where the tame rats are kept, they poke their snouts through the bars to be petted.There's a lot in the article about animals and domestication, but what about us?
The other colony of rats has been bred from exactly the same stock, but for aggressiveness instead. These animals are ferocious. When a visitor appears, the rats hurl themselves screaming toward their bars....
“The ferocious rats cannot be handled... They will not tolerate it. They go totally crazy if you try to pick them up.”
Human self-domestication, if it occurred, would probably not have exactly the same genetic basis as tameness in animals. But Mr. Albert said that if he could pinpoint the genetic difference between the tame and ferocious rats, he would compare the chimp genome and the human genome to see if they showed a similar difference.Well, we can't do that today. Maybe you would like to speculate wildly (or tamely) about where on the line between wildness and domestication you think we are and where we should be.