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FOX TALK: How Some Very Special Animals Helped Scientists Understand Communication

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  39 ratings  ·  24 reviews

When you talk to a dog, does the dog talk back?

Many people think so. But for a long time, scientists didn't know how our furry friends learned to communicate with people.

Luckily, Russian scientist Dmitri Belyaev had a plan. If he could tame wild red foxes, he could learn how dogs first came from wolves. By studying the way these foxes changed during domestica
Paperback, 62 pages
Published August 30th 2013 by Ashby-BP Publishing (first published August 8th 2013)
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4.18  · 
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 ·  39 ratings  ·  24 reviews

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Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. Domestic foxes, bred for tameness, for "niceness," became better at communicating with humans, *not* because they were trained, but because their DNA actually changed. I need to investigate the books of the bibliography for something directed at adults... I had no idea of this research and want to learn more.

Meanwhile, this book explains the experiments carefully, reinforces the Scientific Method and Statistical Analysis, and points out the problems with research on wolves and dogs. All in
Dec 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Fox Talk is an educational, research-based book that explores the domestication of dogs from the wolf species by examining the behavior and communication of foxes. Turns out they don’t say “Hatee-hatee-hatee-ho” either! Using stunning photography of dogs, foxes, and wolves, author L.E. Carmichael (who has a PhD in wildlife population genetics) describes how, with increased contact with humans, wolves slowly evolved over time to become a new species – dogs! What is absolutely fascinating is that ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathryn Jacoby
Feb 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and unbiased.

I would highly recommend this book not only to elementary aged children, but also to older, middle grade students, especially low readers, as well. The non-fiction account of a Russian scientist’s dedication to the study of communication of domesticated canines is clearly written, interspersed with terrific photographs of both wild and domestic animals.
The amount of writing per page is ju
Lynda Dickson
Jan 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Children and their parents
"Fox Talk" is a nonfiction book describing the links between foxes, wolves, and domesticated dogs. It documents Russian scientist Belyaev's experiments to try and domesticate wild foxes in order to better understand how humans and dogs communicate. The book explains the distinction between trained animals whose DNA is not altered, and domesticated animals whose DNA has changed and are thus able to pass these changes on to their offspring.

We also learn about Svetlana Gogoleva's experiments to try
I got this book through Netgalley for reviewing, and boy am I happy I did.

Fox Talk is a fantastic children's book that delves into the topic of domestication in a way that is easy for anyone to understand. They actually talk about the Russian Fox Experiment, how domestication affects not only behavior but actual genetics, and how you can assess these facts and animal intelligence for yourself.

The topic, while complex, is laid out very well and further resources are also offered throughout the bo
C.L. Murphy
Jan 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful non-fiction book for kids that explains how we communicate with the canine family and how the animals communicate with each other, both by body language and by sound methods. Simple and clear explanations tell the difference between domesticated and wild behavior and how domestication and training can alter that behavior. The author offers a fun experiment to do with the reader's pet. She adds in fun facts and great photography. Information on where you can purchase your own ...more
Feb 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for review purposes.

I feel the need to start this review with a disclaimer that I have a deep love for foxes. One of my prized possessions, to this day, remains a stuffed fox (named Todd, unsurprisingly) that my grandmother gave to me the better part of twenty years ago. I absolutely want a pet fox, if I ever live in a place where it is legal. They're extremely dear to my heart sometimes for reasons I can't even explain.

Secondly, I want to link to th
M.M. Hudson
Jan 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had the opportunity to review the e-book Fox Talk by L.E. Carmichael and was somewhat facinated. This is a non-fiction science book based upon the domestication of foxes. Several years ago a group of scientist were attempting to figure out communication of dogs with humans and other species.

As dogs, wolves and foxes are all related they chose to study the different foxes over a course in time. They bread them and watched them to see if over time their DNA would change to become domesticated. T
Feb 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(4.5 stars) When I first saw the title for this book, I started singing "What does the fox say?" Go ahead, admit it. You did, too. If your child wasn't obsessed with that song and you don't know what I'm talking about, consider yourself very lucky! (I will admit that I liked it the first couple of times I heard it but it got old when I heard it over and over and over.)

I did realize that I didn't know that much about foxes so I was interested to learn more, and so were my kids. Dr. Carmichael sta
Dec 04, 2013 rated it liked it
I have 3 dogs and I know they can communicate with me, things like "Get me a Milkbone." "I don't want to take a bath!" or "I love it when you rub my belly." So I was very interested in what scientists had learned when studying foxes and how they communicate. I had not heard of this experiment with domesticating foxes in order to study them and try to see how dogs learned to understand and be understood by people. Can you believe that they have been studying generation after generation of foxes f ...more
Feb 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: my sister-in-laws who are school teachers & run a early literacy program
Recommended to Kelly by: Netgalley
Shelves: netgalley
This ebook offers an intriguing look at the domestication of foxes. Over the course of 50 years by breeding foxes with milder personalities that weren't afraid of humans, Russian scientist Dmitri Belyaev has been studying and experimenting with how animals communicate with each other and humans. The book is 5 chapters with adorable pictures of wolves, foxes and dogs. It covers the reasons to start trying to domesticate red foxes and what was learned about ways in which foxes and dogs communicate ...more
May 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What a fascinating book about foxes! Even though this a nonfiction book for children, I learned a great deal about foxes and dogs. It was fascinating to read the experiments that the scientists did to learn about wild versus tame. The experiments were clearly explained as well as the results. There are excellent pictures showing the experiments. There is an experiment that kids can do with their dog.

This book will be enjoyable for children to read and learn from. A "warning" though you or your
Jan 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received a free copy of this book for an honest review.

Fox Talk is a children’s book but I learned a lot about domesticated animals. I had no idea that the DNA of domestic animals is different than that of wild animals.

This book has the results of the results of over 50 years of research on domestication and communication of animals. It lists the results of several experiments and has great photos of foxes, wolves, and dogs. It even has an experiment that can be done at home. At the end of the
Emily (Heinlen) Davis
Mar 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Formatting: This book was formatted correctly, except that it didn't have any front matter (title page, copyright page, etc.).

Content: While I knew, basically, how dogs became domesticated, I didn't know that you could do the same thing to foxes. I found the information on domesticating foxes fascinating, especially in regard to how anger toward humans seems to be nature, not nurture. I also liked how the author compared dogs and foxes throughout the book so that the reader had a frame of refere
Jan 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
Fox Talk is an educational book that teaches children about how dogs learned to communicate with humans. The story is laid out with pictures and facts that make learning fun. The author uses simple language which allows children to easily grasp concepts in this interesting non-fiction tale.

As a dog owner, and definitely one who talks to her pets with the belief that they know what I am saying, I found Fox Talk fascinating. My dogs, just like the foxes and dogs in Fox Talk, understand pointing, e
Lots of concepts are described here in an accessible way. The narrative depicts the Russian experiment on foxes that examined the genetic changes that occur in domestication. The structure of experiments is depicted, the changes- how they are selected and how they occur along with the outcomes are well explained. Some canine behaviors and communication tactics are shown. All in all, really well done description of a fascinating study that can be applied to general science literacy as well as int ...more
May 08, 2014 rated it liked it
Fox Talk is about domestic foxes that are legal in some places to have and keep as pets. It is explained about their history and how they need to be taken care of. Numerous photographs are shown throughout giving a better look at these unusual pets. Bonus material at the end includes a glossary, index, and list of websites for further research. A well-done book giving insight into a lesser known species of animal.
Jan 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, netgalley, arc
Excuse me while I go get a pet fox...

This children's book goes into how scientists bred and domesticated foxes to learn more about domesticated dogs. The question was, how do dogs communicate with humans? Is it something they learn, or is it something they are born with? Beautiful visuals, and great resources, I think I will add a fox to my list of dream animals to live with when I get a farm.

Received from netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Apr 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc-reads
Basically, this book explains how researchers used foxes to try and figure out how dogs learned to understand humans. It deals heavily with domestication and communication, which was extra interesting to me because I'm planning to work with Deaf students. I really enjoyed this, and I do plan to find a way to use it in my future classroom. (And not just because I love foxes.)

(I received this book for free for an honest review.)
Jenny Bynum Black Words-White Pages
Jan 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Children and Parents
Recommended to Jenny Bynum by: Mother Daughter Book Reviews
This book was interesting and intriguing story, but I had a bit of trouble reading the words on the dark background. I really did like the video better though.

I received an e-ARC copy, for a blog tour, in return for an honest review.
Dec 27, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to and Ashby-BP Publishing for allowing me access to this title.

This book was interesting and informative. I now want to add domestic fox to my list of animals that would be fun to have as a pet.

3 1/2 stars
Fox Talk
by L.E. Carmichael
is a book Looking at the documentation and research of canine language and development. starting with a comparison of Dmitri Belyaeve research on foxes... this is a look at a very interesting NOVA special about the breading of dogs.
Jan 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting read and the more I think about it, the more intrigued I become. I did struggle reading the dark red pages with black print, though.
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At some point, every kid starts asking “Why?”. Lindsey Carmichael never stopped. As a PhD candidate, she uncovered new reasons why arctic foxes are the coolest; as a forensic scientist, she found out why bears sometimes get away with murder. As a writer, she follows her sense of wonder to the “whys” of subjects as diverse as nature, the environment, medicine, and technology.

The award-winning autho