Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Canine Intelligence Quotients

The Christian Science Monitor has an article entitled "Why your dog is smarter than a wolf" that drew my attention for somewhat obvious reasons. Here's a quote:

"The wolves ... were only interested in the meat," notes Miklosi. "The dogs were of course interested in the meat, but knew that one way to get it might be to figure out what the human wants them to do."

To Csanyi, this proves that dogs have acquired an innate ability to pay attention to people, and thus to communicate and work with them. This is a skill that wolves don't assume even when raised from birth to learn it.

Dogs are "very motivated to cooperate with and behave like people," says Csanyi. "That's why dogs can do things no other animal can do."

So, the animal that has been bred for human social interaction over a period of several generations was more inclined to trust and rely upon humans than the animal whose ingrained social expectations are wildly different than what they have experienced for a couple of months. It's quite amazing what passes for science reporting these days...