Domestication

The Thoughtful Animal

Category archives for Domestication

You’ve probably had a conversation that goes something like this: Person A: “My dog is sooooo amazing!” You: “I mean, dogs are awesome and all, but what’s so amazing about this particular dog?” Person A: “He just understands me. It’s like he knows what I’m thinking and what I need.” You: “Do you think he’s…

There is a small bit of land, only about a square kilometer, that has added a new wrinkle to the story of animal domestication. This bit of land located in Northern Jordan, just southeast of the Sea of Galilee near the banks of the Jordan River, is home to an archaeological site known as ‘Uyun…

Eric M. Johnson and I spent about 45 minutes discussing “evolutionary psychology beyond sex” last night, which you can see today on Bloggingheads “Science Saturday.” Or just watch it here:

I showed this video today as an intro to my 8-week “mini-course” on Canine Cognition.

Cooperation and conflict are both a part of human society. While a good deal of the academic literature addresses the evolutionary origins of conflict, in recent years there has been an increased focus on the investigation of the evolutionary origins of cooperative behavior. One component of cooperative behavior that might be present in other animals…

At least one dog can be found in forty percent of US households, and forty percent of those owners allow their dogs to sleep on their beds. To put this in perspective, in a family with five children, two of them can be expected to become dog owners, and one of them will probably allow…

Monday Pets on Scientific American!

For today’s dose of monday pet blogging, head on over to a piece that I wrote for Scientific American that went up today. I used the invitation as an opportunity to a dig a little deeper into the story of Belyaev and his domesticated silver foxes (I previously wrote about them, here and here)

Dogs are pretty smart. They can have huge vocabularies, they can infer meaning in the growls of other dogs, and they can effortlessly figure out if other dogs want to play or fight with them. But their intelligence might be limited to the social domain; indeed, while they outperform chimpanzees in social tasks, chimpanzees outperform…

I will be reposting some dog-related posts from the archives in the coming few weeks as I prepare for the course I’m teaching this semester on dog cognition. Please let me know if you find something inaccurate or unclear. Domesticated dogs seem to have an uncanny ability to understand human communicative gestures (see here). If…

In general, the ability to attribute attention to others seems important: it allows an animal to notice the presence of other individuals (whether conspecifics, prey, or predators) as well as important locations or events by following the body orientation or eyegaze of others. We’ve spent a lot of time here at The Thoughtful Animal thinking…