If There Is Much In The Window There Should Be More In The Room

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Are Dogs Our Closest Relatives?


“Of all creatures the one nearest to man in the fineneness of its perceptions and in its capacity to render true friendship is a bitch.” —Konrad Lorenz

Are Dogs Our Closest Relatives?

That’s the question asked, only partly tongue-in-cheek, by a 2008 review of studies in canine behavioral psychology that comes to a startling conclusion: “In many ways dogs are more human-like than any other species, including nonhuman primates.”

Dogs’ “human-like behaviors” include an uncanny ability to interpret human body language, gaze, and other nonverbal cues, as well as to recognize as many as 200 words of human language.

Their ability to “read” us exceeds that of either our closest genetic relatives (trained chimpanzees) or their own (tamed wolves), and there is evidence that the predisposition to do so is innate in dogs, not acquired anew through experience by each individual dog.....

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