Thursday, March 01, 2007

21st c. Pets

Evolutionary biologists are fond of the Russian experiment attempting to domesticate foxes, in which breeding for domesticity also resulted in juvenile biological characteristics.

Cute Foxes

Now, as I read about marvels of nature, bizarre creatures I've never heard of living in regions beyond my imagination, the question that springs to mind is always, "How can humankind, i.e. me, exploit these miracles to my benefit?"

To wit, if it's this easy to make foxes cute, what other animals out there are potential pets? I'm desperate for input (that's what she said).

The ideal new pet should have several characteristics:

1. Fuzziness. Feathers and scales are annoying.

2. Smallity. Small, which is the inverse of big and all its corresponding scariness, is cute. (There turns out to be a good evolutionary psychology reason for this. In the ancestral environment big things squashed us, whereas cute things did not.)

3. Short-live-itude. We're probably going to have to breed our new pets to be nicer than nature demands. That means we need rather short lifespans if we want to get it done soon.

4. Terrestrialicism. Though a friend and I have high hopes for domesticating otters with the use of a plus-sized aquarium, it would probably be better for something that's happy with the backyard.

5. Reasonable diet.

My current favorite is the platypus. I'm well aware of the spurs, but the females lack them, plus I figure if you can de-scent a skunk, why not de-venomize a monotreme? Australian mammalia look promising at present, though Madagascar has its jewels (but I'm told lemurs are stupid). Apes would just be awesome, but I hear they tend to fight back. Plus, they probably have rights. Monkeys, especially those miniature new worlders, are more promising.

3 comments:

Carol said...

This is pretty cruel and unjust and offcourse inhuman. We really cannot rather should not go against nature.How could we ever be so selfish!!Carol

Courtney L. said...

I want a mini armadillo. That way when it gets boring, you can just roll it up in a ball and play catch with it. Or throw it at your siblings.

Or, they could cross the armadillo with the desert fox, and you'd get a Popple.

Jay said...

Carol:

Cruel? How so? How do you think we got the pets we have today? We're not talking about Bonsai Kitten here; we're talking about selective breeding. Maybe minor surgery.