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December 6, 2004

Coming To Campus
Speaker To Focus On Natural History of Dogs

Coming to Campus is a section announcing visiting speakers of note.
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The natural history of dogs will be the focus of a presentation by Ray Coppinger on Sunday, Dec. 12. The talk will take place in Room 130 of the Biology/Physics Building, at 3 p.m. A book-signing will follow.

Many people in Western society think of dogs as pets or companions, and dogs that are not connected with people as “strays.” Coppinger’s studies have shown that throughout the world most dogs are only loosely attached to people and make an honest living scavenging on human refuse. From a biological point of view, dogs are very successful, with their populations dwarfing all other canids.

Coppinger will explore the evolution of dogs and the niche they occupy in an attempt to understand why they have become so biologically successful.

Coppinger, a professor of biology at Hampshire College, is a former New England sled dog racing champion. He and Lorna Coppinger are co-authors of Dogs: A Startling New Understanding of Canine Origin & Evolution (2001). He also wrote Fishing Dogs (1996).

The talk is sponsored by the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History and Connecticut Archaeology Center at UConn.