monthly program

Wednesday, 29. November 2017, 18:30

What makes dogs special?

Clive D. L. Wynne (Arizona State University)
November 29th, 6.30 p.m.
For decades scientists have been arguing about what makes dogs special. One widespread view is that the secret of dogs’ success in human society is a special form of intelligence. Perhaps dogs, in the approximately 15,000 years since they started separating from wolves, acquired skills in reading peoples’ actions and intentions that are unique among all animal species.
I shall present findings from my own group and others, that show that there is in fact nothing special about the intelligence of dogs. They certainly are good at understanding people, but no more so than other animals that have been reared from an early age by humans and made completely dependent on human beings to have all their needs met. Instead, I believe that the essential and unique quality of dogs is their ability to form affectionate bonds with members of other species. It’s their hearts, not their smarts, that makes dogs so remarkable and successful.

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