Dogs: So Like Us

March 26th, 2009at 08:38pm Posted by Eli

Not sure I totally buy this, but it’s interesting:

Chimpanzees share many of our genes, but dogs have lived with us for so long and undergone so much domestication that they are now serving as a model for understanding human social behavior, according to a new paper.

Cooperation, attachment to people, understanding human verbal and non-verbal communications, and the ability to imitate are just a handful of the social behaviors we share with dogs. They might even think like us at times too, according to the paper, which has been accepted for publication in the journal Advances in the Study of Behavior.

(…)

Topal, who is based at the Institute for Psychology at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, is one of the world’s leading canine researchers. He and his team argue that dogs should serve as the “new chimpanzees” in comparative studies designed to shed light on human uniqueness.

“In my view, pet dogs can be regarded in many respects as ‘preverbal infants in canine’s clothing,'” he said, adding that many dog-owner relationships mirror human parental bonds with children.

My money’s still on chimps as being far more human-like, but it’s certainly true that dogs are more integrated into our world, and probably have been for long enough that some sort of co-evolution with humans has occurred.

Entry Filed under: Science


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