Pet Scoop: Study Links Dog and Human Evolution, Baby Polar Bear Flies to Buffalo

May 15, 2013: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Man and dog
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Scientists Trace Dog Domestication

Dogs have been man’s best friend for so long that groups of genes related to the brain, diet and digestion, and disease have evolved in parallel over the course of thousands of years. That’s according to researchers at the University of Chicago, whose study was published this week in the journal Nature Communications. They suggest that their shared evolution was driven by their common environment. "As domestication is often associated with large increases in population density and crowded living conditions, these 'unfavorable' environments might be the selective pressure that drove the rewiring of both species," the researchers wrote. The authors also suggest that dogs have been domesticated for 32,000 years — about two times as long as current estimates. — Read it at National Geographic

Colorado Makes Shelter Animals State Pet

With his own adopted dog, Sky, in tow, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill brought forward by schoolchildren to designate shelter dogs and cats as the official state pet on Tuesday. “These pets become a huge part of people's lives,” Hickenlooper said. The governor also signed legislation that aims to protect dogs when police are called to their owners’ homes. — Read it at Our Colorado News

Plus: In Texas, there was another legislative victory for animals on Tuesday. Animal rights groups celebrated as Gov. Rick Perry signed a bill making Texas the latest state to prohibit the use of gas chambers in animal shelters. — Read it from the American Humane Association

Bald Eagles Crash on Airport Runway

After a midair battle, two bald eagles with their talons locked together survived a crash landing on the tarmac at Duluth International Airport in Minnesota on Sunday. While Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer Randy Hanzal tried to take the birds to a wildlife rehabilitation center in his pickup truck, one of the birds jumped up and flew away. The second is being cared for at the University of Minnesota’s Raptor Center in St. Paul. — Read it at ABC News

Kali, an orphaned polar bear cub, has been taken in by the Alaska Zoo.
Kali, an orphaned polar bear cub, was taken in by the Alaska Zoo in March.

Bear Cub Heads For New Home

Kali, the cub who was rescued after his mother was shot in Alaska in March, left for the Buffalo Zoo via UPS on Tuesday. He was expected to arrive at his new home on Wednesday after a 14-hour trip. He spent the last two months being bottle fed and cared for at the Alaska Zoo, where he more than tripled his weight to 66 pounds. Now about 6 months old, Kali (pronounced cully) was named after the closest village to the area where he was found by rescuers. He will join Luna, a female cub at the Buffalo Zoo who’s about the same age. "The decision to have him with another cub his own age, it's priceless," said Alaska Zoo director Pat Lampi. "They're normally with their mother and another sibling for the first few years of their lives." — Read it from AP via Yahoo News

San Diego Zoo Reveals Koala’s Name

In other adorable zoo baby news, the San Diego Zoo announced the name for its 10-month-old female koala. After more than 4,000 votes were cast, the winner of a naming contest for the koala is Kirra, which is a word for “leaf” in the Aboriginal language. Kirra was the third joey born to mom Nariah. The zoo’s four koalas will soon move to the facility’s new Australian Outback exhibit. — Read it from the San Diego Zoo

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