Few, if any, animals have been domesticated - which is what Beattie is proposing - without being transformed in the process. Consider the chicken: Guided by generations of farmers, chickens have become plumper, more full-breasted birds. The difference is more than meat-deep. Genetic comparisons between chickens and one of their wild ancestors, the junglefowl, have uncovered mutations in the domestic birds' DNA that let them mate and lay eggs year-round, as the Smithsonian Magazine points out.
To be fair, the taming of the chicken has taken place over thousands of years. But even given a much shorter time frame, humans are no slouches at changing animals in captivity. For about the past 50 years, Russian scientists have been breeding silver foxes, selecting the floppiest ears and friendliest dispositions. And in that half century, the fox has become altogether more hound. The tame Siberian foxes whine and wag their tails when humans are near - behaviors not seen in wild foxes, notes Evan Ratliff at National Geographic. Artificial selection, according to fox researcher Lyudmila Trut, has replaced natural selection.