(ORDO NEWS) — Showing affection for a person is a natural behavior for a dog, but do wolves show it? In a new study, Swedish scientists have confirmed that wolves can also recognize familiar people and show affection for them.
The wolf is the ancestor of the domestic dog, but their behavior differs radically. Did a dog’s affection for a person form after domestication, or is it worth looking for the roots of this behavior in a wild ancestor?
To answer this question, a team of Swedish researchers tested 10 wolves and 12 dogs in various tests, hoping to identify the very behaviors that made the dog the first pet. Both dogs and wolves were raised under the same conditions and passed the same tests up to the age of eight months.
In one test, two people, an acquaintance and a stranger, took turns entering the room where the animal was.
Similar studies have previously been done on infants, and it has been shown that in a stressful situation (being in an unfamiliar place and encountering a stranger), animals, like human children, seek closeness from someone they know.
It turned out that both wolves and dogs perfectly distinguish between familiar and unfamiliar people, after which they enter into physical contact and try to spend more time with the former.
It is also interesting that if the dogs reacted to the test situation more calmly, then the wolves were clearly nervous, however, when a familiar person appeared, they quickly calmed down.
In other words, the behavior that we consider exclusively canine, in fact, can be called wolf. Scientists believe that it was these traits that became the object of selective pressure in the early stages of dog domestication: ancient people specially selected the most affectionate and devoted wolf cubs, who then became the ancestors of the entire dog tribe.
In the future, scientists are going to continue working with dogs and wolves to try to find other possible similarities in their behavior and find out what exactly domestication has changed in the behavior of dogs – and whether it has changed at all.
Contact us: [email protected]