The researchers think that co-operation was a trait present in the ancestors of wolves and dogs because domestication did not erase it:
The researchers found that the dogs and wolves were equally successful, succeeding in about three out of four trials on average. “Dogs were not outperformed by wolves in coordinating their actions, in the frequency of success or in how long the task took,” explains Juliane Bräuer of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, lead author of the study and head of the DogStudies group at the institute. “This is somewhat surprising, as it contradicts recent findings by other researchers related to more complex cooperation tasks performed by dogs and wolves.” The researchers hypothesize that this could be due to the simple nature of the task in the present study, which might require only basic cooperation skills…
The researchers point out that, although the kind of coordination shown in the present study may rely on more simple mechanisms than full, conscious cooperation, it can still inform us about how cooperative behavior might have changed — or not — during the domestication process. “Our results suggest that the abilities needed to coordinate actions were already present in the dog-wolf ancestor,” notes Bräuer. “In future studies, it would be interesting to focus on the question of how exactly factors like social dynamics, living conditions, the type of task and maybe also breed differences influence the cooperative behavior of dogs and wolves.”Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, “Dogs and wolves are both good at cooperating” at ScienceDaily
The explanation that everyone probably wants to avoid is that the domestication process did not change much of anything. Stasis again.
If canines didn’t hunt co-operatively, they wouldn’t be able to hunt much at all. Everything favors co-operation, which makes the behavior easy to learn and practice – and costly to fail to learn or practice.
Note this: “The researchers point out that, although the kind of coordination shown in the present study may rely on more simple mechanisms than full, conscious cooperation, … ” Surely no one thinks that dogs or wolves have a theory of co-operation? Of course not; animals do what feels right to them. If it doesn’t change, that’s a limit on how humans can alter them.
See also: “Tame foxes” breeding experiment was solid mid-20th century Darwinism. It all sounded like perfect schoolbook Darwinism. Until someone made a issue of the fact that the foxes were the descendants of already-tame foxes in Prince Edward Island (province) in Canada.
The real reason why
only human beings speak. Language is a tool for abstract thinking—a necessary tool for abstraction—and humans are the only animals who think abstractly (Michael Egnor)