(ORDO NEWS) — Dog owners know how pets can “make eyes”. One eyebrow rises, and the look becomes so sad… How did animals learn to do this?
A new study has finally identified precise anatomical features that may explain why dogs’ faces are able to mimic human facial expressions.
They say that a dog always looks like its owner. Hmm, it seems dogs are basically like people!
Researchers at Duken University in Pittsburgh, USA, have found that dogs have the same muscles on their faces as humans, which allows them to form expressions close to human facial expressions.
Scientists believe that people deliberately left (bred) animals with features similar to their own, which led to the appearance of a characteristic feature of dogs that wolves do not have.
“Throughout the process of domestication, humans may have bred dogs selectively based on facial expressions that were similar to their own, and over time, canine muscles may have evolved to get along faster with humans,” said Professor Ann Burroughs, senior author of the study.
“Sad Eyes” and evolution
In the course of the study, the scientists set out to understand why the facial expression of dogs is so attractive to humans.
“Dogs differ from other mammals in their connection with humans, which can be seen even in a simple glance.
We do not observe this connection between humans and other domestic mammals such as horses or cats,” Professor Burroughs explained.
The team focused on the anatomy of the facial muscles of both dogs and wolves. In humans, we are dominated by “fast twitch” myosin fibers.
They move fast, but also tire quickly. This explains why we find it difficult to maintain facial expressions for long periods of time. In contrast, “slow twitch” myosin fibers do not tire as quickly.
Their analysis showed that, like humans, both dogs and wolves have facial muscles dominated by fast-twitch myosin fibers. However, wolves have been found to have a higher percentage of slow twitch fibers than dogs.
“These differences suggest that having faster muscle fibers contributes to a dog’s ability to communicate effectively with humans [more responsive to human facial expressions],” Burroughs said.
In addition, having more fast twitch fibers provides powerful muscle contractions associated with barking in dogs. And having more slow-twitch fibers allows for longer muscle movements associated with howling in wolves.
By the way, during a previous study, the team found that dogs have an additional facial muscle that helps dogs build “puppy eyes.” Wolves don’t have that muscle.
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