Evolutionary biologist Lee Alan Dugatkin will discuss research on domesticating silver foxes to explore the evolution of the dog at the next MBL Falmouth Forum on Friday, November 22.

The talk will be held at 7:30 PM in MBL’s Lillie Auditorium, 7 MBL Street, Woods Hole. Admission is free, and free parking is available in any MBL lot.

The Falmouth Forum lecture series is presented by the Friends of the MBL and offered as a cultural connection between MBL and the Cape community.

For the last six decades a team of researchers in Siberia, biologists Dmitri Belyaev and Lyudmila Trut, have been domesticating silver foxes to replay the evolution of the dog in real time and witness the process of domestication. Dr. Trut and Dr. Dugatkin, a biologist and science historian, respectively, tell the inside story of the science, politics, adventure and love behind the research in the book, “How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog).” Inside this tale of pathbreaking science in the midst of often brutal, -35° winters of Siberia is hidden a remarkable collaboration between an older, freethinking scientific genius [Belyaev] and a trusting, but gutsy young woman. Together they risked not just their careers, but, to an extent their lives, to make scientific history.

At the Falmouth Forum, Dr. Dugatkin will share his adventures documenting these fascinating experiments and the tale of how some hardscrabble but openhearted humans and the wild animals they domesticated developed such deep attachments that both seemed to forget the species divide between them.

Lee Alan Dugatkin is an evolutionary biologist and a historian of science in the Department of Biology at the University of Louisville. He has lectured about his research and his books at more than 175 venues around the world. He is the author of nine books and more than 150 papers published in such journals as Nature, The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and The Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. The New York Times Book Review called “How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog),” “Sparkling... A story that is part science, part Russian fairy tale, and part spy thriller… it may serve—particularly now—as a parable of the lessons that can emerge from unfettered science, if we have the courage to let it unfold.”

The 2019-2020 Falmouth Forum season will continue with next month’s talk:

December 13—”Empowering Women and Girls; Levers for Change”; Ambassador (ret.) Mary Ann Peters, chief executive officer, The Carter Center.

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