Pop science media tried to spin this as an “evolution” story, which is ridiculous:
Recent research has focused on a minor difference between dogs and wolves which might help explain why dogs are loved and wolves are not:
In the first detailed analysis comparing the anatomy and behavior of dogs and wolves, researchers found that the facial musculature of both species was similar, except above the eyes. Dogs have a small muscle, which allows them to intensely raise their inner eyebrow, which wolves do not. The authors suggest that the inner eyebrow raising movement triggers a nurturing response in humans because it makes the dogs’ eyes appear larger, more infant like and also resembles a movement humans produce when they are sad. Paper.(open access) Juliane Kaminski, Bridget M. Waller, Rui Diogo, Adam Hartstone-Rose, Anne M. Burrows. Evolution of facial muscle anatomy in dogs. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, June 17, 2019; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1820653116University of Portsmouth, “The evolution of puppy dog eyes” at ScienceDaily
Dr. Kaminski had found earlier that dogs moved their eyebrows much more if humans were looking at them.
And what about wolves? The muscle that allows dogs to raise their eyebrows is “a scant, irregular cluster of fibres” in wolves. She notes,
“This is a striking difference for species separated only 33,000 years ago and we think that the remarkably fast facial muscular changes can be directly linked to dogs’ enhanced social interaction with humans.”
“The raised inner eyebrow movement in dogs is driven by a muscle which doesn’t consistently exist in their closest living relative, the wolf. University of Portsmouth, “The evolution of puppy dog eyes” at ScienceDaily
In this case, “evolution” appears to mean that, over tens of millennia, humans embellished “a scant, irregular cluster of fibres” by selective breeding of dogs people like … More. “Those Puppy Dog Eyes Are No Accident” at Mind Matters News
Would you be shocked to learn that babyface dogs are more likely to be adopted at shelters?
See also: Dogs are more like humans than chimpanzees are (in certain psychological senses – that’s why so many people have dogs and almost no one has a chimpanzee)
A Top Anthropology Finding Of Year Show Humans Cognitively Closer To Dogs Than Chimps (2017)
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