Study looks at difference between wolves and dogs

DOMESTIC dogs may have lost some of their innate animal skills when they came in from the wild, research suggests.

Monday, 18th September 2017, 7:44 am

In a study comparing wolves and dogs living in near-identical environments, wolves were better at working things out.

The tests, carried out by an international team at the Wolf Science Centre in Austria, involved the animals having to choose between two objects – ‘one containing hidden food and the other empty.

The aim was to see if they could use communicative cues, such as direct eye contact and pointing gestures, to choose the correct container.

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Dr Juliane Kaminski, from the University of Portsmouth, said both were able to follow the cues to find the food but in the absence of a human to show them where it was, only the wolves made causal inferences.

She said: ‘The wolves showed a high understanding of cause and effect, which the dogs lacked. The wolves’ use of cues connected to eye contact was interesting because it may help science understand the process by which wild animals became our companions.’