The Intelligence of Wolves
(includes Wolves, Coyotes, Foxes, Dogs and Hyenas)
Wolves are better problem solvers than Dogs.
Probably because Dogs have been bred
to become dependent on humans.
Humans have 5 million olfactory receptors, dogs have 220 million, 44 times more than humans. Dogs literally "see" the world through their nose.
9-6-17 Swansea Uni study: African wild dogs 'sneeze to vote'
Swansea Uni study: African wild dogs 'sneeze to vote'
African wild dogs vote over pack decisions by sneezing, a new study has found. The joint research by academics from Swansea, Australia and the United States monitored endangered dogs at the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust. They found the dogs used sneezes to decide when to move off to hunt after making camp for greeting ceremonies called "social rallies". Dr Andrew King, of Swansea University, said the sneezes acted as a "quorum". The study was carried out by zoologists from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, Brown University, in the United States, and Swansea University's College of Science. Previously it had been thought the dogs, which are among the world's most-endangered species, were simply clearing their airways. But, while zoologists recorded the details of 68 social rallies, they noticed the more sneezes there were, the more likely it was the pack moved off and started hunting. Dr King said: "The sneezes act as a type of quorum, and the sneezes have to reach a certain threshold before the group changes activity. "Quorums are also used by other social carnivores such as meerkats." However, the study suggested some sneezes hold more weight than others. Reena Walker, of Brown University, said: "We found that, when the dominant male and female were involved in the rally, the pack only had to sneeze a few times before they would move off. "However, if the dominant pair were not engaged, more sneezes were needed - approximately 10 - before the pack would move off".
7-20-17 Why dogs are friendly - it's written in their genes
Why dogs are friendly - it's written in their genes
Being friendly is in dogs' nature and could be key to how they came to share our lives, say US scientists. Dogs evolved from wolves tens of thousands of years ago. During this time, certain genes that make dogs particularly gregarious have been selected for, according to research. This may give dogs their distinctive personalities, including a craving for human company. "Our finding of genetic variation in both dogs and wolves provides a possible insight into animal personality, and may even suggest similar genes may have roles in other domestic species (maybe cats even)," said Dr Bridgett vonHoldt of Princeton University. The researchers studied the behaviour of domestic dogs, and grey wolves living in captivity. They carried out a number of tests of the animals' skills at problem-solving and sociability. (Webmaster's comment: Friendliness genes are in some human beings too, but not in nearly enough of them. Case in point, hate groups in America!)
7-19-17 First dogs may have been extremely sociable wolves
First dogs may have been extremely sociable wolves
Wolves and dogs that are friendliest to people carry mutations in genes with links to sociability, backing the idea that this was key in dog domestication. The ancestral wolves that evolved into domestic dogs may have carried genetic mutations that made them socialise more readily with people. What’s more, the same genes cause excessive sociability in humans. It was already known that even if wolves have been raised with humans from birth, they never become as close to people or look at them as often as dogs tend to. Several years ago, Bridgett vonHoldt at Princeton University in New Jersey and her colleagues linked this “hypersociability” to a 28-gene stretch of the dog genome that includes canine versions of the genes responsible for Williams syndrome – a human disorder characterised by extreme sociability. However, they had no direct proof that these genes caused it. To find out whether they do, vonHoldt and her team tested the behaviour of 18 domestic dogs and 10 wolves, all of which had been raised identically with constant human contact. Each animal was scored for its hypersociability towards humans. As expected, the dogs scored higher than the wolves. The researchers then sequenced the key region of each animal’s genome in fine detail and searched for structural variations – deletions or insertions of genetic material – that seemed to match well with their social behaviour. They found four, including two in genes called GTF2I and GTF2IRD1. These genes are known to cause the hypersociability involved in Williams syndrome in humans, and GTF2I has also been shown to cause hypersociability in mice.
7-19-17 These genes may be why dogs are so friendly
These genes may be why dogs are so friendly
DNA differences among dogs and wolves hints at how canines came to live with humans. Dogs' friendliness to humans may be tied to tweaks in a few of the animal's genes. A new study examines how variations of these genes may have allowed for the domestication of dogs from wolves. DNA might reveal how dogs became man’s best friend. A new study shows that some of the same genes linked to the behavior of extremely social people can also make dogs friendlier. The result, published July 19 in Science Advances, suggests that dogs’ domestication may be the result of just a few genetic changes rather than hundreds or thousands of them. “It is great to see initial genetic evidence supporting the self-domestication hypothesis or ‘survival of the friendliest,’” says evolutionary anthropologist Brian Hare of Duke University, who studies how dogs think and learn. “This is another piece of the puzzle suggesting that humans did not create dogs intentionally, but instead wolves that were friendliest toward humans were at an evolutionary advantage as our two species began to interact.” Not much is known about the underlying genetics of how dogs became domesticated. In 2010, evolutionary geneticist Bridgett vonHoldt of Princeton University and colleagues published a study comparing dogs’ and wolves’ DNA. The biggest genetic differences gave clues to why dogs and wolves don’t look the same. But major differences were also found in WBSCR17, a gene linked to Williams-Beuren syndrome in humans.
6-9-17 Dogs and wolves share sense of fair play
Dogs and wolves share sense of fair play
The sense of fair play is an important human trait, but new research suggests that it's a key behaviour for dogs and wolves as well. In tests, if one animal was given a more substantial reward when performing a task, the other one downed tools completely. It had been felt that this aversion to unfairness was something that dogs had learned from humans. But the tests with wolves suggest that this predates domestication of dogs. Scientists have long recognised that what they term a "sensitivity to inequity", or a sense of fairness, played an important role in the evolution of co-operation between humans. Basically, if others treated you badly, you quickly learned to stop working with them. Researchers believe that the behaviour is also found widely in non-human primates.
4-25-17 Family tree of dogs reveals secret history of canines
Family tree of dogs reveals secret history of canines
The largest family tree of dogs ever assembled shows how canines evolved into more than 150 modern breeds. Dogs were first selected and bred for their ability to perform tasks such as herding goats or cattle, say scientists. Later, they were selected for physical features such as their size or colour. The study also unearths evidence that some dogs are descended from an ancient breed that travelled with the ancestors of Native Americans into the Americas. Archaeological evidence points to the so-called "New World dog", which apparently crossed with human settlers over a land bridge from Asia. It had previously been thought that all signs of this ancient breed had been erased as dogs bred in Europe spread around the world. "We think there is still some signature of New World dog hiding in the genome of some of these American breeds," said co-researcher Heidi Parker of the National Institutes of Health, US. Modern hairless breeds such as the Peruvian hairless dog and the Mexican hairless dog are likely descended from this ancient dog.
3-10-17 Dogs use deception to get what they want from humans (a sausage)
Dogs use deception to get what they want from humans (a sausage)
Who needs enemies with friends like these? Human’s best friend can be sneaky and manipulative – and all for a tasty treat. Dogs are all honest, loyal and obedient, right? Well, not always. Our pets can be sneaky and manipulative when they want to maximise the number of tasty treats they get to eat. Marianne Heberlein, who studies dog cognition at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, wanted to test the animals’ ability to use deception to get what they want from humans. She got the idea to study doggie deception from watching her own dogs. One occasionally pretends to see something interesting in the backyard to trick the other into giving up the prime sleeping spot. “This sort of thing happens quite often, but it is not well studied,” she says. To see if dogs would deceive humans too, Heberlein and her colleagues paired various pooches with two partners – one who always gave the dog treats and another who always kept the treats.
2-10-17 Monkeys and dogs judge humans by how they treat others
Monkeys and dogs judge humans by how they treat others
Experiments show that both canines and capuchins prefer those of us who help other people, hinting that morality may have a more-ancient origin than thought. Be nice – or your dog may judge you. Both pets and monkeys show a preference for people who help others, and this might explain the origins of our sense of morality. Studies involving babies have previously shown that by the age of one, humans are already starting to judge people by how they interact. This has led to suggestions that children have a kind of innate morality that predates their being taught how to behave. Comparative psychologist James Anderson at Kyoto University and his colleagues wondered whether other species make social evaluations in a similar way. They began by testing whether capuchin monkeys would show a preference for people who help others. The capuchins watched an actor struggle to open a container with a toy inside. Then this actor presented the container to a second actor, who would either help or refuse to assist. Afterwards, both actors offered each capuchin food, and the monkey chose which offer to accept. When the companion was helpful, the monkey showed no preference between accepting the reward from the struggler or the helper. But when the companion refused to help, the monkey more often took food from the struggler.
2-9-17 'Dogs mirror owners' personalities'
'Dogs mirror owners' personalities'
The idea that a dog takes on the personality of its owner has received scientific support. Researchers in Austria say dogs can mirror the anxiety and negativity of owners. And dogs that are relaxed and friendly can pass this on to humans, perhaps helping their owners cope with stress. More than 100 dogs and their owners underwent various tests, including measurement of heart rate and their response to threat. Saliva samples were also taken to measure cortisol levels, a marker for stress. The owners were then assessed for the big five hallmarks of personality: neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness and conscientiousness. The personality of dogs was also assessed with a questionnaire. Dr Iris Schoberl, of the University of Vienna, said both owners and dogs influenced each other's coping mechanisms, with the human partner being more influential than the dog. "Our results nicely fit to experience from practice: owners and dogs are social dyads [a group of two], and they influence each other's stress coping," she told BBC News. She said dogs are sensitive to their owners' emotional states and may mirror their emotions. Dogs have lived alongside humans for more than 30,000 years. Evidence shows they can pick up emotional information from people and adjust their behaviour accordingly.
2-8-17 Why grey wolves kill less prey when brown bears are around
Why grey wolves kill less prey when brown bears are around
We’ve long assumed wolf packs are forced to kill more often to make up for having meals stolen by scavenging bears – but the opposite is true, they kill less. Wolves may be better at sharing their meals with bears than we thought. Biologists have long assumed that when wolves and brown bears share territory, the wolves are forced to kill more often to make up for the food stolen by scavenging bears. But when Aimee Tallian, a biologist at Utah State University, and her colleagues looked for evidence of this, they found the opposite. Where wolves live alongside bears in Scandinavia and Yellowstone National Park in the US, they actually kill less often. “People had this general assumption, because you do see lynx and mountain lions abandon their kills once a bear takes it over, but no one had really looked at this in wolves before,” she says. It’s not yet clear why this might be, but Tallian has a few theories.
11-10-16 Dog's dinner: DNA clue to how dogs became our friend
Dog's dinner: DNA clue to how dogs became our friend
Dogs have been dining on human food scraps since the early days of their domestication, it appears. Our canine companions developed the ability to digest starchy foods during the farming revolution thousands of years ago, according to DNA evidence. Scientists think dogs may have been domesticated from wolves when they came into settlements, scrounging for food. Modern dogs can tolerate starch-rich diets, unlike their wolf cousins, which are carnivores. A study of DNA extracted from the bones and teeth of ancient dogs at archaeological sites in Europe and Asia suggests their ability to eat starchy foods goes back millennia.
9-21-16 Vets warn people against buying 'flat-faced' dogs
Vets warn people against buying 'flat-faced' dogs
Vets are warning would-be dog owners to think twice before buying breeds with fashionably "flat-faced" features because of concerns over their welfare. Pugs, bulldogs, French bulldogs and shih-tzus have become sought-after in the UK, despite wide-ranging health problems. Their appeal is attributed to having "squashed" faces and wrinkled noses. The British Veterinary Association said the surge in popularity of these dogs had "increased animal suffering". Sean Wensley, president of the British Veterinary Association (BVA), said: "Prospective owners need to consider that these dogs can suffer from a range of health problems, from eye ulcers to severe breathing difficulties. "We strongly encourage people to choose a healthier breed or a crossbreed instead." Webmaster's comment: The same is true for "flat-faced" cats. You may think they are cute but they suffer all the time. They also are less active and playful and less intelligent.)
9-9-16 How your dog understands you
How your dog understands you
Man’s best friend may understand us better than we thought. Groundbreaking new research has found that dogs process words and intonation using separate parts of the brain—the same way humans do, reports The Washington Post. Scientists trained 13 dogs of various breeds to lie still in an MRI machine. The pooches then listened to a trainer reciting positive phrases (such as “good dog”) as well as meaningless ones (like “however”), in both a neutral tone and a happy, “attaboy” tone. The scans showed that the dogs processed the meaningful words with the left side of their brain—the same hemisphere humans use to process language—and intonation with the right side. Furthermore, the canines’ dopamine “reward centers,” which respond to things like food or being petted, weren’t activated by meaningless phrases spoken in a positive tone of voice or by encouraging words spoken in a flat tone. “Dogs not only tell apart what we say and how we say it,” says Attila Andics, the study’s lead researcher, “but they can also combine the two, for a correct interpretation of what those words really mean.”
8-30-16 Dogs process language like us and can tell when we praise them
Dogs process language like us and can tell when we praise them
Brain scans have found that dogs use different parts of their brains to process speech, and can tell what words mean if we use the right tone. It turns out they really do understand some of what we are saying, processing both words and intonation to work out what we mean. Attila Andics, a neuroscientist at Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest, Hungary, and her team scanned the brains of dogs while they were listening to their trainer speaking. They found that, just like us, dogs use the left hemisphere of their brains to process words, while the intonation of speech is processed by the right hemisphere. The team tested the dogs by saying different words with various intonations – for example, a meaningless word spoken in an encouraging voice, or a meaningful word said in a neutral tone. They found that dogs only registered praise in the reward region of their brain if both positive words and encouraging intonation were used at the same time.
8-30-16 Dog brains divide language tasks much like humans do
Dog brains divide language tasks much like humans do
Meaning, intonation interpreted separately, study finds. To see how dogs process speech, these pooches were trained to undergo MRI brain scans. The results: Dogs are a lot like humans. Dogs process speech much like people do, a new study finds. Meaningful words like “good boy” activate the left side of a dog’s brain regardless of tone of voice, while a region on the right side of the brain responds to intonation, scientists report in the Sept. 2 Science. Similarly, humans process the meanings of words in the left hemisphere of the brain, and interpret intonation in the right hemisphere. That lets people sort out words that convey meaning from random sounds that don’t. But it has been unclear whether language abilities were a prerequisite for that division of brain labor, says neuroscientist Attila Andics of Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest.
5-20-16 Dog risked his life to protect his family
Dog risked his life to protect his family
Just two months after Haus the German shepherd was adopted from an animal shelter, the 2-year-old rescue dog risked his life to protect his new family. Molly DeLuca, 7, was playing in her backyard in Tampa last week when a venomous Eastern diamondback rattlesnake slithered up. The heroic dog leaped in front of the girl, barking and snapping at the snake. Haus got three painful bites and is still recovering in the ICU, but strangers have donated more than $50,000 to cover the huge vet bills. “He was willing to give his life for our family,” said Molly’s mom, Donya.
3-30-16 Girl trains dog, Pip, to 'sniff out' diabetes dange
Girl trains dog, Pip, to 'sniff out' diabetes dange
A 13-year-old girl with diabetes says she has taught her dog, Pip, to sniff out changes in her blood sugar levels. Katie Gregson, from St Anne's in Lancashire has type 1 diabetes, which can be dangerous and needs to be closely managed. Pip's strong sense of smell can help detect when Katie's glucose levels fall below or creep above critical levels.
3-28-16 Why some male hyenas leave and others are content to stay home
Why some male hyenas leave and others are content to stay home
Males that stay with their birth clan, instead of taking off to join a new group, may simply be making a good choice, a new study suggests. Spotted hyenas are a matriarchal society. Females are in charge. They rank higher than every male in the clan. And the females generally stay with the clan for their entire lives. But males face a choice when they reach two and a half years in age. They can stay with the clan, or they can leave and join a new clan.
12-23-15 Canine copycats can mirror other dogs' emotions
Canine copycats can mirror other dogs' emotions
Dogs can copy each other's expressions in a split-second just like people, showing signs of basic empathy, according to Italian researchers. Mimicking each other's facial expressions is a human habit, which helps people to get along. Dogs do the same to bond with other dogs, scientists report in the journal, Royal Society Open Science. They think dogs may be showing a basic built-in form of empathy, enabling them to pick up on emotions. And the phenomenon may have emerged in our canine companions during the process of domestication, say scientists from the Natural History Museum, University of Pisa.
9-16-15 Have we turned dogs into lazy thinkers through domestication?
Have we turned dogs into lazy thinkers through domestication?
Faced with puzzles with food rewards dogs give up and defer to humans much more than wolves, who persevere until they solve the puzzle. Perhaps this is why our dogs are so happy to see us. When faced with a puzzle to solve for a treat, they give up and defer to humans for help, unlike their wild cousins, wolves. So are dogs just servile beasts whose dependence on humans has made them dumber and lazier than wolves? Or is it a sign of their high social intelligence? Eight out of 10 wolves were able to open the box but only One out of 20 dogs succeeded. Most declined to attempt the task and instead looked to humans for guidance. “Wolves spent almost all of their time engaged on the task trying to get the puzzle open, and dogs spent almost none. That was a pretty striking difference,” says Udell.
6-18-15 Team of hyenas works together to steal fresh carcass from lions
Team of hyenas works together to steal fresh carcass from lions
Most animals wouldn't confront a fearsome predator like a lion. But through sophisticated group work, hyenas launch successful raids. The mobbing involves a surprising degree of cooperation and communication. Male lions, which actively pursue and kill hyenas, are much more of a danger than females, who usually just make threats. This could be why the hyenas generally confront females. The team suggests the hyenas can identify their opponent's age and sex before deciding as a group whether or not to mob it.
6-5-15 Monkeys' cosy alliance with wolves looks like domestication
Monkeys' cosy alliance with wolves looks like domestication
Troops of gelada monkeys in Ethiopia are unfazed by wolves wandering through to hunt rodents, but is one domesticating the other just as humans did with dogs? In the alpine grasslands of eastern Africa, Ethiopian wolves and gelada monkey are giving peace a chance. The geladas – a type of a baboon – tolerate wolves wandering right through the middle of their troops, while the wolves ignore potential meals of baby geladas in favour of rodents, which they can catch more easily when the monkeys are present. The unusual pact echoes the way dogs began to be domesticated by humans.
3-7-15 Frankie the dog 'sniffs out thyroid cancer'
Frankie the dog 'sniffs out thyroid cancer'
A dog has been used to sniff out thyroid cancer in people who had not yet been diagnosed, US researchers say. Tests on 34 patients showed an 88% success rate in finding tumours. The team, presenting their findings at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society, said the animal had an "unbelievable" sense of smell. Dogs have over 40 times the number of smell receptors as people.
2-20-15 Dogs can tell if you're untrustworthy
Dogs can tell if you're untrustworthy
Dogs are not fooled for long by misleading cues, and stop responding to people who have proven unreliable. They are very socially aware, both of humans and of each other. Recent research has found that they can tell the difference between happy and angry faces, and even show jealousy. It now seems that they can sense when a person is untrustworthy. Once a dog has decided a person is unreliable, it stops following the cues they give.
2-12-15 Dogs 'can tell difference between happy and angry faces'
Dogs 'can tell difference between happy and angry faces'
Research is now suggesting something dog-lovers have long suspected - man's best friend can tell the difference between our happy and angry faces. The team tested whether dogs could differentiate between human facial expressions.
1-17-15 Join The Conversation
Join The Conversation
New ways to decode animal chatter reveal a lot about what they are saying by Hal Hadson (Webmaster's comment: It's obvious that animals of the same species talk to each other. We just don't understand their language anymore than most of them understand ours. But some animals do a much better job of understanding our language than we do of theirs. Some dogs understand over 600 human words. Our arrogance seems to get in our way. Also see:
Scandinavian scientists develop dog 'translator'
A group of inventors in Sweden and Finland claims to be close to developing a dog-to-English translator.)
12-23-14 Meeting a wild wolf pack
Meeting a wild wolf pack
Ellesmere Island is one of the most remote and beautiful places on Earth. This is the only place in the world where wolves are naive to man and have no fear. It allowed wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan and scientists an unparalleled opportunity to form bonds with a wild wolf family, revealing the remarkable story of their relationships and behaviour.
11-26-14 Dog head-turning shows they do understand what you say
Dog head-turning shows they do understand what you say
YOU'RE just so right-sided. The left hemisphere of our brains seems to tune into the phonemes in speech that combine to form words, and the right hemisphere focuses on the rhythm and intonation of words, which can carry emotional information. Animals may do the same when processing sounds of their own species, and perhaps even when hearing humans speak.
9-9-14 Are dolphins cleverer than dogs?
Are dolphins cleverer than dogs?
For decades now, dolphins and dogs have vied for the title of most intelligent animal. But which is actually cleverer, and can the two even be compared?
8-26-14 'Two simple rules' explain sheepdog behaviour
'Two simple rules' explain sheepdog behaviour
The relationship between a shepherd and his sheepdog has always seemed almost magical, but scientists now say it can be explained by two simple rules. The first rule: The sheepdog learns how to make the sheep come together in a flock. The second rule: Whenever the sheep are in a tightly knit group, the dog pushes them forwards.
7-23-14 Jealous wags: Dogs show envy is 'primordial' emotion
Jealous wags: Dogs show envy is 'primordial' emotion
Jealousy is not just a human condition according to researchers, as it appears to be hard wired into the brains of dogs as well.
2-26-14 Dog brains respond to calls just like human brains
Dog brains respond to calls just like human brains
Paws for thought: dogs respond to calls just like us
2-20-14 Dogs' brain scans reveal vocal responses
Dogs' brain scans reveal vocal responses
Devoted dog owners often claim that their pets understand them. A new study suggests they could be right.
12-21-13 Scandinavian scientists develop dog 'translator'
Scandinavian scientists develop dog 'translator'
A group of inventors in Sweden and Finland claims to be close to developing a dog-to-English translator.
10-31-13 Scientists decipher dog-tail wags
Scientists decipher dog-tail wags
Scientists have shed more light on how the movements of a dog's tail are linked to its mood.
2-11-13 Dogs understand human perspective, say researchers
Dogs understand human perspective, say researchers
Dogs are more capable of understanding situations from a human's point of view than has previously been recognized, according to researchers.
12-7-07 Animals Do the Cleverest Things
Animals Do the Cleverest Things
The chimp who outwits humans; the dolphin who says it with seaweed; the existential dog -- the more we learn about other animals the harder it is to say we're the smartest species.
Living With Wolves - and Wolves at Our Doors
Radioactive Wolves - Chernobyl's Nuclear Wilderness
Clash - Encounters of Bears and Wolves
David Attenborough Wildlife Specials - Wolf: Legendary Outlaw
Ultimate Nature Collection One - Wolves: A Legend Returns to Yellowstone
Ultimate Nature Collection Two - The Rise of Black Wolf
World's Last Great Places Collection - Yellowstone: Realm of the Coyote
Ultimate Nature Collection One - Eternal Enemies: Lions and Hyenas
The Wildlife Collection - Eternal Enemies: Lions and Hyenas
Inside Animal Minds - Dogs & Super Senses
How Smart Are Animals? - How Smart Are Dogs?
Dogs Decoded - Understanding The Human-Dog Relationship
Why We Love Cats and Dogs - Take an intimate look into the cherished bond between people and their pets.
Inside Animal Minds - A Dog with a World-class Vocabulary. Border Collie: Retains an ever growing vocabulary that rivals a toddler's.
How Dogs Think - Understanding the Canine Mind
Dogs Never Lie About Love - Reflections on the Emotional World of Dogs
If Your Dog Could Talk - A Training Guide For Humans
Designing the Perfect Pet -Can a Fox Become Man's Best Friend?
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The Intelligence of Wolves
Wolves are better problem solvers than Dogs.
Probably because Dogs have been breed to be dependent.