Click here to learn more.
A new study has revealed what pet owners have always suspected:
Dogs understand us better than other animals.
Researchers in Leipzig, Germany, compared how chimpanzees — our closest living animal relative — and dogs responded to human imperative pointing. The person pointed to an object within the dog or chimp’s reach, and the animal was rewarded if he brought the object to the human. Dogs received dry dog food, and chimps got fruit juice or peanuts, according to Discovery News.
The dogs aced the test, while the chimps failed it. The primates’ failure to respond to the pointing has puzzled some researchers who expected the chimps to understand this human gesture, for obvious reasons.
Other researchers theorized that imperative pointing was a uniquely human form of communication and thus one that would not be easily understood by animals, but this doesn't seem to be the case. The study strongly suggests that domesticated dogs, especially gun dogs and sheep dogs, have adapted enough to comprehend it. It’s possible, however, that dogs may be born with this gift, since even six-week-old puppies with no significant training understood the pointing. Prior research also suggests that some domesticated cats understand this human gesture.
“There is multiple evidence suggesting that selection pressures during domestication have changed dogs such that they are perfectly adapted to their new niche, the human environment,” coauthor Juliane Kaminski, a cognitive psychologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, told Discovery News. Which may mean that, at least in this case, domesticated dogs are closer to humans than chimpanzees. Or at least dogs are the ones who really understand us.
To read more about the study, check out the Discovery News article or read the full study in PloS One.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Thank you for subscribing to Petwire. Look for the latest newsletter each Wednesday.
An adorable black and white cat parked
himself right in the way of one of the
holes on a mini-golf course.
Vets performed a two-hour surgery to try to
save the leg of a Maltese struck
by a stolen van during a police chase.
You may be more familiar with the black-and-white variety of panda, but the red panda
had the name first.
Nocturne: Creatures of the Night, by Traer
Scott, showcases night-loving animals like
owls, moths and raccoons.
At this point in your dog's life, he's likely
beginning to show the signs of his age
and is not as active or…
With 40,000 animals poached each year
for the ivory trade, it might not be long
before elephants disappear…
When she's not curled in your lap, the affectionate and elegant Birman will gladly play fetch or chase a ball.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.