November 22, 2002
puppy power

A neat article from the NYT From Wolf to Dog, Yes, but When? addresses a couple recently released studies about the history of the human-dog bond.

One of the studies found that dogs have a unique ability to intuit things based on human behavior that is not found in either chimpanzees or wolves--even when the wolves are raised by humans.

Chimpanzees will notice where a person is looking but do not take the hint that the box being looked at is the one holding the hidden food. Dogs get the picture immediately, Dr. Hare reports.
Another interesting point raised by the article was that it is possible that humans did not domesticate wolves at all, but rather that they partially domesticated themselves...and changed our evolution as well:
When two species live together for a long time, each usually influences the genetically conferred qualities of the other. People may have selected preferred abilities in the dog, but dogs too may have fostered their favorite qualities in people — not of course deliberately but simply by giving people who used dogs a better chance of surviving than people who did not.
Posted by illovich at November 22, 2002 03:51 PM
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