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Professor Ray Coppinger was Professor of Biology at the School of Cognitive Science at Hampshire College in Massachusetts, USA until 2006. With his wife, Lorna, he co-wrote the must-have book, Dogs - a startling new understanding of canine origin, behavior and evolution', and developed the modern theory of how dogs evolved by natural selection. By studying the dog worldwide they propose that it evolved as a highly successful scavenger with its behavior then being shaped by the environment and the effects of human adoption. These processes have made the dog the most successful wolf ever, yet also something interestingly bizarre.
Part 1:An Introduction to Village Dogs and the Mexico City Dump
An overview of village dogs around the world, heading for Mexico and its amazing dump dog population. Why are the Mexico City Dump Dogs so interesting to all of us who raise, train or show dogs or simply revel in the pettiness', and crucial to our understanding of dog behavior and population adaptation and survival.
Part 2:The Behavioral Ecology of Dogs
A fascinating examination of what Darwin didn't know about dogs: how dogs earn a living biologically and an exploration of the costs involved. Founder effects and natural selection at work in the dump. Methods of studying behavioral ecology: are the Mexico City Dump Dogs all that different to those living in other ecosystems? What can the behavior of dump dogs tell us about that of our own captive pet dogs?
Part 3:The Evolution of Dog Behavior
Exploring the similarity of village dogs around the world from Ethiopia to Mexico and their relationships with people. The Mexico City Dump Dogs don't really need the people who live alongside them, so why do they like each other? Why is life in the Mexico City Dump a foraging, social and reproductive paradise for the dump dogs, except for the juveniles? Observing the continuous evolution of dog behavior in the dump.
Part 4: Village Dog Welfare and Management
An invited discussion on stage with Professor Coppinger and Elly Hilby, Jack Johnston and Tam Watson on canine welfare and population control projects around the world, with comment and questions from the audience, followed by closing remarks.