Origin of Dogs: Again

In a previous post I mentioned this study which indicates dogs originated in south-eastern Asia some 16,300 years ago. A commenter asked about this study in PNAS. I don’t have access to that paper, but Science Daily summarizes the paper which takes issue with an earlier paper by Savolainen:
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Dogs as Models of Human Behavior

Back in March I wrote this post looking at which species are better models for the evolution of human behavior and cognition. A new paper on the subject has come out in the journal Behavioral and Brain Functions.

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Why Do Dogs Bark?

PhysOrg.Com mentions some interesting research being published in Behavioural Processes. Not Only Dogs, but Deer, Monkeys and Birds Bark to Deal with Conflict:

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Why Your Dog Looks Guilty

Science Daily has an interesting look at recent research into why dog’s look guilty from time to time.

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Chimps, Dogs, Or Ants: Which is a Better Model For Human Sociality

Over at UD Denyse O’Leary is all twitterpated over this news story. The news item concerns a paper accepted for publication in the journal Advances in the Study of Behavior. The paper hasn’t been published yet, so we are dependent on MSNBC for details:

Lead author Jozsef Topal explained to Discovery News “that shared environment has led to the emergence of functionally shared behavioral features in dogs and humans and, in some cases, functionally analogous underlying cognitive skills.”


“In my view, pet dogs can be regarded in many respects as ‘preverbal infants in canine’s clothing,'” he said, adding that many dog-owner relationships mirror human parental bonds with children.
In one of many recent studies conducted by the team, Topal and his colleagues taught both a 16-month-old human child and mature dogs to repeat multiple demonstrated actions on verbal command — “Do it!,” shouted in Hungarian.

The idea that dogs might serve as models of human behavior is not a new idea. Dogs, like humans are highly social animals that evolved from other highly social animals. For example, one line of research looks at the ability of dogs and wolves to perceive and act on cues provided by humans (turns out wolves don’t pay that much attention to cues provided by humans).
Of course, other animal models have been suggested:

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