Dog Tales – NOVA

This worksheet was created for a NOVA program called “Dog Tales” which explores the evolution and domestication of dogs.

The program includes changes that occurred to the dog’s behavior and appearance and the hypothesis that dog’s evolved about 15,000 years ago when they began to follow human settlements. Wolves that had less fear of humans were more likely to hang around these camps and benefit from food supplies and shelter. Humans and canines may have also benefited from a hunting partnership.

Selective breeding is also discussed as scientists show how foxes are being domesticated in Russia. These foxes were bred for their lack of fear and aggressiveness. Over many generations, the foxes began to resemble domesticated dogs and even had altered appearances, such as a curly tail and lighter coloration.

This program is a great way to introduction evolution and selective breeding. It can also be used to complement units on genetics because it talks about how genes may have changed during the evolution of the dog.


Student worksheet is a set of multiple choice questions that follow the movie with a final reflection for students to synthesize information about evolution and dog domestication.