EEB 522 Seminar Series- Evan MacLean

Origins of Cognitive and Behavioral Diversity in Domestic Dogs
Dec 7, 2023, 12:30 pm1:30 pm
Guyot 10
Open to public



Event Description

Domestic dogs are among the most phenotypically diverse mammalian species, with extraordinary variation in morphological features, lifespan, behavior, and disease susceptibility. I will present a series of studies probing the origins of cognitive and behavioral diversity in dogs, considering variation both within and across breeds. First, I will present results from a longitudinal study of cognitive and behavioral development in a population of Labrador and golden retrievers. In this work, we estimate the heritability of diverse cognitive and behavioral traits in early life (~8 weeks) and young adulthood (~2 years), leveraging a natural experiment in which littermates are reared apart under diverse environmental conditions. Second, I will present studies exploring genetic contributions to breed differences in cognitive and behavioral traits and highlight the role of community science in enabling large-scale studies of dog diversity. Lastly, I will discuss ongoing research characterizing age-related cognitive impairments in dogs, considering whether and how directional selection for body size impacts trajectories of cognitive decline.

Event Category