Scientists have discovered that wolves can communicate with humans in the same way as dogs. This study may also reveal new information about the process of domestication of dogs.
According to a well-known saying, dogs are man’s best friends. Indeed, dogs are a wonderful breed in terms of unrequited love and loyalty. For example, almost everyone knows the story of Hachiko. According to scientists, a similar connection can be established between wolves and humans.
In fact, the relationship between humans and wolves has been studied in this way for the first time, although studies have previously been conducted that examined whether wolves exhibit behavior similar to that of dogs. The study included wolves and dogs who grew up in the same conditions from birth.
Is it possible to tame wolves one day?
Between 40,000 and 15,000 years ago, people who befriended a non-existent wolf species tamed this species. After domestication, the dogs that we know today appeared. Subsequently, artificial selection led to the appearance of hundreds of different species today.
Kristina Hansen Uit from Stockholm University, the lead author of the study, said that the proximity of wolves to humans helps people in the early stages of the domestication process. Whit used 12 Alaskan huskies and 10 European gray wolves in his study. This method, called the non-standard situation test, which is usually used to monitor the behavior of children towards their guardians, was adapted during the study for dogs and wolves.
A female caretaker entered a room where puppies and cubs, taken at the age of 10 days and kept in similar conditions until the age of 23 weeks, played and took care of these cute creatures. After that, the dogs and wolves were visited by a woman who did not take care of them.
Wolves are nervous about strangers
It turns out that wolves, like dogs, show more interest in the person they know. It has also been observed that wolves who interact with this person are more likely to follow the person they know to the door. On the other hand, unlike dogs, wolves showed more signs of stress and fear when strangers entered the room.
Now scientists will conduct research to study more deeply the differences between dogs and wolves. Thus, it will be easier for them to identify the difference in the evolutionary process of dogs and wolves. The study was published in the journal Ecology and Evolution.