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Dogs’ Eyes Have Changed Since Humans Befriended Them


 


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 4 weeks ago '04        #1
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Kliq 391 heat pts391
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Dogs’ Eyes Have Changed Since Humans Befriended Them
 

 
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Dogs, more so than almost any other domesticated species, are desperate for human eye contact. When raised around people, they begin f*ghting for our attention when they’re as young as four weeks old. It’s hard for most people to resist a petulant flash of puppy-dog eyes—and according to a new study, that pull on the heartstrings might be exactly why dogs can give us those looks at all.

A paper published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that dogs’ faces are structured for complex expression in a way that wolves’ aren’t, thanks to a special pair of muscles framing their eyes. These muscles are responsible for that “adopt me” look that dogs can pull by raising their inner eyebrows. It’s the first biological evidence scientists have found that domesticated dogs might have evolved a specialized ability used expressly to communicate better with humans.

For the study, a team at the University of Portsmouth’s Dog Cognition Centre looked at two muscles that work together to widen and open a dog’s eyes, causing them to appear bigger, droopier, and objectively cuter. The retractor anguli oculi lateralis muscle and the levator anguli oculi medialis muscle (mercifully known as RAOL and LAOM) form two short, straight lines, which connect the ring of muscle around a dog’s eye to either end of the brow above.

These researchers have long been interested in the ways dogs make eye contact with humans and, in particular, how they move their eyebrows. In 2017, Juliane Kaminski, the lead author of the new paper, found that dogs moved their eyebrows more often while a human paid attention to them, and less often when they were ignored or given food (which, sorry to say, is a more exciting stimulus for them than human love). That suggested the movement is to some degree voluntary. On our side of these longing glances, research has also shown that when dogs work these muscles, humans respond more positively. And both man and mutt benefit from a jolt of oxytocin when locked in on each other.

This isn’t simply a fortuitous love story, in which the eyes of two species just so happen to meet across a crowded planet. Like all the best partnerships, this one is more likely the result of years of evolution and growth. If dogs developed their skill for eyebrow manipulation because of their connection to humans, one way to tell would be to look for the same capacity in wolves. Because dogs split off from their wolf relatives—specifically, gray wolves—as many as 33,000 years ago, studying the two animals is a bit like cracking open a four-legged time capsule. Divergence between the two species marked the start of dogs’ domestication, a long evolutionary process influenced—and often directly driven—by humans. Today, researchers can identify and study differences between the species to gain an understanding of exactly how dogs have changed over time.

In this case, those eyebrow-raising muscles do appear to be an addition to dogs’ anatomy. In the four gray wolves the researchers looked at, neither muscle was present. (They did find bundles of fibers that could be the precursors to the RAOL and LAOM.) In five of the six breeds of dogs the researchers looked at, both muscles were fully formed and strong; in the Siberian husky, the wolflike, oldest breed of the group, the researchers were unable to locate a RAOL.

Sometimes, the origins of changes like these aren’t immediately apparent. Certain physical dog traits—including floppy ears and short snouts—likely originate from the same set of developmental cells that code for tameness, a preferable trait in household pets, for instance. In the case of this new research, though, the connection between the physical trait and the related behavior is a bit more direct. “Previous work—and much of it by these same authors—had shown that these muscles were responsible for enhancing positive responses in humans,” Brian Hare, the director of Duke University’s Canine Cognition Center and the editor of the paper, told The Atlantic via email, “but the current suggests the origin of these facial expressions is after dogs split from wolves.”

By evolutionary standards, the time since this split has been remarkably short for two new facial muscles to have developed. For a species to change that quickly, a pretty powerful force must be acting on it. And that’s where humans come in. We connect profoundly with animals capable of exaggerating the size and width of their eyes, which makes them look like our own human babies and “hijacks” our nurturing instincts. Research has already demonstrated that humans prefer pets with more infantlike facial features, and two years ago, the authors of this latest study showed that dogs who made the facial movement enabled by the RAOL and LAOM muscles—an expression we read as distinctly humanlike—were more likely to be selected for adoption from a shelter than those who didn’t. We might not have bred dogs for this trait knowingly, but they gained so much from having it that it became a widespread facial feature. “These muscles evolved during domestication, but almost certainly due to an advantage they gave dogs during interactions with humans that we humans have been all but unaware of,” Hare explained.



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“It’s such a classically human system that we have, the ways we interact with our own infants,” says Angie Johnston, an a*sistant professor at Boston College who studies canine cognition and was not involved with the study. “A big theme that’s come out again and again in canine cognition and looking at the domestication of dogs is that it seems like they really just kind of dove right into our society in the role of being an infant or a small child in a lot of ways. They’re co-opting existing systems we have.”

The same humanlike facial gestures could also be a dog’s way of simply securing attention in the first place. Eyebrow raising is one of the most well-understood examples of what researchers call ostensive cues, a family of nonverbal signals (often facial movements and expressions) humans send one another to convey their intention to directly communicate. Dogs’ uncanny ability to mimic this human expression likely leads us to project certain human emotions onto them in ways we don’t with other animals, regardless of what they might actually be feeling.

The movement of the RAOL and LAOM muscles is particularly open to interpretation. “In different contexts we’ll call that something different,” says Alexandra Horowitz, a senior research fellow at the Barnard College Dog Cognition Lab. “In one case, I might say it’s sad, but in another case I’ll say, He’s really paying attention. It can look wry, like a questioning or unbelieving look.” According to Horowitz, dogs are the only animals aside from our primate cousins that are expressive in this eerily familiar way. Horses alone share the ability to twist their eyes into the same doleful shape, but their overall expressions don’t strike us as humanlike in the same way that dogs’ do. With dogs, Horowitz points out, we’re so driven to connect that we often search for “smiles” in the shapes of dogs’ mouths. The new research, she says, “makes me think it’s more about being able to move the face in a way that humans move the face. We don’t like unexpressive faces.”

Both Horowitz and Johnston suggested that similar studies looking at populations of dingoes (which Johnston researches) and Siberian foxes could provide yet another time capsule of sorts for understanding eyebrow movements and other evolutionary traits. Both species live near humans and are some of the closest living relatives to the earliest dogs. Why did they stay wild while dogs drifted into domestication? “Anything to do with getting to the bottom of why we as a species picked out this one animal can carry a huge amount of information,” Horowitz says. “In some ways, it’s discovering something about ourselves."



Last edited by Kliq; 06-18-2019 at 12:00 PM..
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 4 weeks ago '18        #2
Blaffy 171 heat pts171
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 4 weeks ago '04        #3
Kliq 391 heat pts391 OP
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bx dog owners

im on the fence

what are the pros and cons?


im not gonna lie i think the biggest issue i have with owning a dog is the pooping part

i know they gotta poop but the whole act of having to clean up after them seems foul (but necessary)

also, not sure if any of yall do this, but my boy who owns a dog, he will clean the dog's a**hole with a wet-wipe after they get back inside after a walk. anybody else do this?
+4   

 4 weeks ago '17        #4
LazyLeg 
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 Kliq said
bx dog owners

im on the fence

what are the pros and cons?


im not gonna lie i think the biggest issue i have with owning a dog is the pooping part

i know they gotta poop but the whole act of having to clean up after them seems foul (but necessary)

also, not sure if any of yall do this, but my boy who owns a dog, he will clean the dog's a**hole with a wet-wipe after they get back inside after a walk. anybody else do this?
If you've got a fenced yard that's 2 birds 1 stone. You just open the door and they walk themselves and you don't have to pick up the sh*t. Also I've owned many dogs in my life and I've never wiped their a*s with a wet wipe
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 4 weeks ago '04        #5
Kliq 391 heat pts391 OP
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 LazyLeg said
If you've got a fenced yard that's 2 birds 1 stone. You just open the door and they walk themselves and you don't have to pick up the sh*t. Also I've owned many dogs in my life and I've never wiped their a*s with a wet wipe
i live in the city bro

if i lived in the burbs with my own backyard i would have been had a dog

also, after a dog sh*ts, isnt there still sh*t there? and then they come inside and sit all over the couch and stuff, doesnt that sh*t spread? curious
+4   

 4 weeks ago '15        #6
KING SOULJA 41 heat pts41
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Only If you want a dog. Don’t get one to just get one and then ignore the little fuker. It’d be best to get a puppy that is 4 weeks old or less so you can mold their little mind to your liking and not end up with a dog with no manners who eats your couch pillows who you have no idea how it will act and will be harder to break its habits. You See my dog grew up with 2 cats and kind of acts like a cat does because it watched what they did. It’s a small dog by the way, Yorkie mixed with Maltese but favors Maltese in appearance thankfully because I don’t like that grey stringy hair from Yorkies. I type that because you wouldn’t really expect a big a*s dog to act like a cat. I have to cut my dog’s a*s hair on the regular because it will sh*t and then it will get caught on her hair and she’ll be waltzing around with a turd swinging back and forth. So yes, sometimes a wet wipe is needed.
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 4 weeks ago '06        #7
LeMar G 250 heat pts250
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One of the things i find the most interesting is how male dogs treat their babies in comparison to wolves.

Male wolves are an active part of pup development whereas dogs....not so much. They barely want to be in the same room as them.

I was reading that scientists believe we bred them to be this way.
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 4 weeks ago '04        #8
Kliq 391 heat pts391 OP
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 LeMar G said
One of the things i find the most interesting is how male dogs treat their babies in comparison to wolves.

Male wolves are an active part of pup development whereas dogs....not so much. They barely want to be in the same room as them.

I was reading that scientists believe we bred them to be this way.
whats the reasoning for breeding them this way?
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 4 weeks ago '06        #9
LeMar G 250 heat pts250
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 Kliq said
whats the reasoning for breeding them this way?
They arent sure but it sounds unintentional. We took care of their puppies so in part they lost that way of thinking.

We took them from being pack animals to being dependent on us for survival which inadvertently cost them that paternal instinct.
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 4 weeks ago '04        #10
Kliq 391 heat pts391 OP
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 LeMar G said
They arent sure but it sounds unintentional. We took care of their puppies so in part they lost that way of thinking.

We took them from being pack animals to being dependent on us for survival which inadvertently cost them that paternal instinct.
you think a part of it is that the father (or even mother) looks at their puppies as a competition of sorts? that they're afraid that the human will turn their attention to the younger pups?
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 4 weeks ago '06        #11
LeMar G 250 heat pts250
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 Kliq said
you think a part of it is that the father (or even mother) looks at their puppies as a competition of sorts? that they're afraid that the human will turn their attention to the younger pups?
Possibly the thought that now I have to share attention and food isnt feasible to a dependent animal.

I wonder how dogs have changed humans on that level of instinct.
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 4 weeks ago '06        #12
d4deesnuts 3 heat pts
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Dog sh*t does not stick to the dogs a*s after it sh*ts unless it has diarrhea. It can happen occasionally if you have a dog that has long fur around its a*s tho.
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 4 weeks ago '06        #13
991 40 heat pts40
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Plot twist. Dogs didn't come from wolves. Wolves are wolves and dogs are dogs.

Anyways, my last childhood dog was just put down yesterday. My sister had him. We had him since 2005/2006. I don't know the full details but he was sick. Every time I'd visit my mom, he'd jump up in the bed and lay next to me. A big dog. I'm talking cuddle style. He was a great guard dog but also such a good boy
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 4 weeks ago '04        #14
Kliq 391 heat pts391 OP
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 991 said
Plot twist. Dogs didn't come from wolves. Wolves are wolves and dogs are dogs.

Anyways, my last childhood dog was just put down yesterday. My sister had him. We had him since 2005/2006. I don't know the full details but he was sick. Every time I'd visit my mom, he'd jump up in the bed and lay next to me. A big dog. I'm talking cuddle style. He was a great guard dog but also such a good boy
you religious?
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 4 weeks ago '12        #15
daman729 27 heat pts27
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I remember years ago I had a chow/wolf mixed. It was weird. It was domesticated and laid back like a regular dog but at the same time I could tell it had the wild instincts of a wolf. It would go in my neighbors fence and take his chickens smh.
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 4 weeks ago '15        #16
FaceGoneWoodard 
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I've got a Great Dane rescue and a Half Lab / Half Dane rescue. I used to be on the fence but these two keep life exciting and they're both quick to f*ck up an intruder.

Whenever I've gotten sick they both get depressed and lay next to the bed until I'm healthy. I wouldn't trade anything for these two.

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 4 weeks ago '11        #17
xArchangeLx 3 heat pts
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 Kliq said
i live in the city bro

if i lived in the burbs with my own backyard i would have been had a dog

also, after a dog sh*ts, isnt there still sh*t there? and then they come inside and sit all over the couch and stuff, doesnt that sh*t spread? curious
Yes dude. When my dog used to do it we'd say he left his damned crop circles
Youd justsee a little circle of sh*t wherever he sat
It's not his fault but its gross so if they're indoor dogs you gotta wipe em

 4 weeks ago '17        #18
LazyLeg 
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 Kliq said
i live in the city bro

if i lived in the burbs with my own backyard i would have been had a dog

also, after a dog sh*ts, isnt there still sh*t there? and then they come inside and sit all over the couch and stuff, doesnt that sh*t spread? curious
Just saw your edit. Not really unless they've got long fur or the runs. I've never had a dog track sh*t throughout the house not saying that they don't just I've never had it happen

 4 weeks ago '09        #19
NastyNate825 21 heat pts21
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Dogs rule snakes drool
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 4 weeks ago '19        #20
zzxxccvvbb 5 heat pts
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 Kliq said
bx dog owners

im on the fence

what are the pros and cons?


im not gonna lie i think the biggest issue i have with owning a dog is the pooping part

i know they gotta poop but the whole act of having to clean up after them seems foul (but necessary)

also, not sure if any of yall do this, but my boy who owns a dog, he will clean the dog's a**hole with a wet-wipe after they get back inside after a walk. anybody else do this?
Get a dog if you aren't a deadbeat.

Will probably never be without a large breed dog until my 60s then I will progress to medium, and then finally small when I am just too old
+3   

 4 weeks ago '06        #21
991 40 heat pts40
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 Kliq said
you religious?
No. The word religious to me is people who believe in something and do things out of tradition but don't have a real relationship with any God.

Me. I'm someone who found out God actually exists. Not because it was a belief passed down to me. Not because it's popular in America. Not because the Bible says so. I found him in the spirit. He's talked to me. I've been through casting out of demons. I've witnessed him supernaturally. I didn't always know he was real.

Let's say evolution exists. Who created that process? We don't have proof of one thing evolving though. It's only theories by scientists who don't believe in a God. I have tons of proof God exists. But we don't have 1, not 1 proof of evolution actually happening. Not 1. But if it did, evolution would be a design.

Just like we are a design. We aren't too far from the sun, we aren't too close. We have reproductive organs. We have oxygen. When we have small wounds our bodies heal itself. There is someone who designed that process. A trillion zillion coincidences didnt happen by accident to where life exists. If we started from gas, where did the gas come from? If you think logically, there has to be a God. If you use emotion or your opinion, you might say no he can't be real because you want things to be your way. Or you don't understand why things are the way they are so you dismiss his existence. That's dangerous. Like I said, I didn't always know for sure until I ran into him when I was looking to see if he existed. And he showed himself to me. Not physically.


Last edited by 991; 06-18-2019 at 04:40 PM..

 4 weeks ago '06        #22
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 nastyNate825 said
Dogs rule snakes drool
He changed his name now on here, but he wouldn't be pleased with that statement. Haha. I'd @ him but I forgot his new name. The racist dude with snakes.

 4 weeks ago '06        #23
adub123 1 heat pts
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 991 said
He changed his name now on here, but he wouldn't be pleased with that statement. Haha. I'd @ him but I forgot his new name. The racist dude with snakes.
its King Of Snakes now
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 4 weeks ago '10        #24
peeyump 15 heat pts15
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 LazyLeg said
If you've got a fenced yard that's 2 birds 1 stone. You just open the door and they walk themselves and you don't have to pick up the sh*t. Also I've owned many dogs in my life and I've never wiped their a*s with a wet wipe
They wiping their a*s on ya carpet
+1   

 4 weeks ago '04        #25
ScaledAt10 1 heat pts
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 Kliq said
bx dog owners

im on the fence

what are the pros and cons?


im not gonna lie i think the biggest issue i have with owning a dog is the pooping part

i know they gotta poop but the whole act of having to clean up after them seems foul (but necessary)

also, not sure if any of yall do this, but my boy who owns a dog, he will clean the dog's a**hole with a wet-wipe after they get back inside after a walk. anybody else do this?
I got three that live with me and my fiance and two that live with my fiance's mom. Its not to bad if you get into the routine of grooming and keeping up after them.

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