Credit: Rebecca Terrett and Lauren Kelly, Ghazanfar Lab, Princeton University
Caption: Asif Ghazanfar, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at Princeton University, led a team of scientists who determined that changing an infant monkey's vocal development also changed a physical marker of domesticity: a patch of white fur on its forehead.
It's not a coincidence that dogs are cuter than wolves, or that goats at a petting zoo have shorter horns and friendlier demeanors than their wild ancestors. Scientists call this "domestication syndrome" -- the idea that breeding out aggression inadvertently leads to physical changes, including floppier ears, shorter muzzles and snouts, curlier tails, paler fur, smaller brains, and more.
The link appears to come from certain neural crest cells, present before birth and in newborns, that have a ...