Darwin and the Dogs

Darwin had been an excellent fox hunter in his youth, a practice that made him keen in observing things. The naturalist was also fond of dogs at a time when they were essential in the English daily life. The dogs were the ones that controlled the worms, raised cattle, protected the houses and properties and led the hunters to their prey. They were further known for being man’s best friends.

In the journals and notebooks of the naturalist, most of the principles of natural selection were based on canine metaphors. The first example given in his work about adaptation and selection is the model of the greyhound, a dog that had each and every part of the body adapted to the hunting of hares.