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How dogs and breeds influenced Darwin

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The species most influential in Charles Darwin’s natural history discoveries were not Galapagos finches, tortoises or primate families, but canis familiaris, the domestic dog. Darwin grew up living with and hunting beside dogs which provided him with an extensive natural history education; even before he left on the Beagle, Darwin was well schooled in theories of adaptation, evolution and selection theory through his energetic involvement with British dog-and-gun culture. An in-depth look at the literature of that culture reveals evolutionary science as part and parcel of a sporting country life, and pre-veterinary theories of animal health and care helped establish a definition of species and traces of their origin.

This talk is part of the Departmental Seminar Programme, Department of Veterinary Medicine series.

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