The Secrets Inside Your Dog’s Mind

TIME: “Henry the schnoodle just did a remarkable thing. Understanding a pointed finger may seem easy, but consider this: while humans and canines can do it naturally, no other known species in the animal kingdom can. Consider too all the mental work that goes into figuring out what a pointed finger means: paying close attention to a person, recognizing that a gesture reflects a thought, that another animal can even have a thought. Henry, as Kivell affectionately admits, may not be “the sharpest knife in the drawer,” but compared to other animals, he’s a true scholar.

It’s no coincidence that the two species that pass Hare’s pointing test also share a profound cross-species bond. Many animals have some level of social intelligence, allowing them to coexist and cooperate with other members of their species. Wolves, for example–the probable ancestors of dogs–live in packs that hunt together and have a complex hierarchy. But dogs have evolved an extraordinarily rich social intelligence as they’ve adapted to life with us. All the things we love about our dogs–the joy they seem to take in our presence, the many ways they integrate themselves into our lives–spring from those social skills. Hare and others are trying to figure out how the intimate coexistence of humans and dogs has shaped the animal’s remarkable abilities.”

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Explore posts in the same categories: Dogs, Evolution, Intelligence, Science

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