Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Why so many domesticated mammals have floppy ears

By Don Newgreen and Jeffrey Craig

Take a look at several domesticated mammal species and you might spot a number of similarities between them, including those cute floppy ears.

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The famous naturalist and evolutionary theorist Charles Darwin even observed in the first chapter of his On the Origin of Species that:

Not a single domestic animal can be named which has not in some country drooping ears […]

And it’s not just the ears. Domesticated animals share a fairly consistent set of differences from their wild ancestors such as smaller brains, smaller teeth, shorter curly tails and lighter and blotchy coats: a phenomenon called the “domestication syndrome”.


Curly tail another give-away for domestication.
Flickr/Krissy Venosdale, CC BY-ND

A paper published this week in the journal...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.