It is a fundamental question of our existence: is it nature or nurture that determines who we are?
Nature is defined as genetic inheritance.
Nature - genetic inheritance
Nurture being environmental factors such as upbringing, experience and learning.
Nurture - environmental factors
A group of researchers in Hungary set out to try to answer this question using wolves.
Wolves and dogs are in the same species. They can interbreed and are 99.8% genetically identical.
Wolves and dogs are 99.8% genetically identical
The researchers wanted to see if a wolf, raised in a home environment, would develop traits similar to a domestic dog.
Has nurture or nature made these genetically similar animals so behaviorally different?
Each researcher was given a newly born wolf cub and raised it as if it were a puppy.
Dr Kubinyi Eniko, Eötrös Loránd University, Hungary - "So we were especially nice with our cubs because we wanted to maintain a very good relationship with them. They were really cute so it was not very difficult to carry them everywhere we were going and we also slept together with the cubs so the bonding it was good."
But soon things began to change. By 8 weeks old, the researchers began to notice differences in the expected development of the cubs.
Dr Kubinyi Eniko, Eötrös Loránd University, Hungary - "There is a very strong cooperative tendency in dogs and this was missing in the wolves. They had their own ideas and they were not much interested in my activities."
Unlike dogs, the wolves did not respond to training and wouldn't make eye contact with humans. They also became very possessive and would not respond to discipline. The cubs were behaving as they would in the wild.
The behavior only got worse and after two months it became too dangerous to keep the wolves indoors.
After four months the wolves were returned to a wolf reserve.
This unique experiment showed that nurture had little impact on the wolves' development, suggesting that domestication could not be achieved within one generation.