1. looking at the left side of the

1.    
Describe the
experiment with dogs and eye tracking. 
Why were researchers interested in this, and what do the results
suggest?

An experiment
was conducted by Dr. Daniel Mills to find out how dogs look at the human face
as well as objects and the faces of other dogs. To find these results, various
dogs were forced to look at a projection screen and were shown different images
of faces and objects while software tracked the movements of their pupils. The
results showed that humans and dogs have developed the trait of looking at the
left side of the face when it’s projected to them at random appearance. Dogs
and humans share a mutual trait in how we look at fellow humans. When people
express their emotion on their face, we don’t show it symmetrically. It is
believed that our emotion is more faithfully expressed on the right side of our
face. The experiment conducted with this software sought an understanding to
see if people’s emotions can be receipted and understood by dogs. However, dogs
didn’t look to the left side when shown pictures of objects or other species of
dogs. That evidence can prove outright that dogs might really have evolved to have
uncanny response to the emotions of humans.

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2.    
How did
scientists test whether humans could understand different dog
vocalizations?  What is the significance
of this, and how do dogs differ from wolves in this regard?

In Budapest, a blind test experiment was
performed where they could only hear what the dogs were barking and humans
proved to very good at what emotions the dogs displayed as they were hearing
the different vocal pitches coming from the dogs. Adam and his team played out
different scenarios and the test subjects used headphones to listen in and
determine emotions of the different barking sounds that were projected by the
dogs. The researchers conducting this vocal experiment had a theory that dogs
actually have altered their vocal capabilities to be able to communicate with
their human companions. Wolves, which are the ancestors of domesticated dogs,
only bark when expressing a threat or warning and don’t use barking to
communicate any other signal. The researchers weren’t surprised how well the
test subjects translated the sounds but in how dogs have this vocal repertoire that
humans can translate. Since wolves rarely bark, theories can lead to an
understanding that dogs have evolved these different barks with the aim to
communicate with their human counterparts.

3.    
One experiment
in the film used both dogs and chimpanzees as subjects.  Describe the results.  From an evolutionary perspective, what
thoughts do you have about these results, as well as other evidence presented
in the film, such as the amazing abilities of the border collie “Betsy”?

An experiment with chimpanzees, the most relative animal to
humans. Julianne Kaminski used two yellow cups to find out if chimps could
understand human gestures. If the chimps and dogs followed directions, they
were awarded with hidden treats. As simple as the test is to humans, our
nearest primate relative in chimpanzees failed miserably whereas the dogs
passed with flying colors in comparison. The documentary crew also went to a
home in Austria where owner of Betsy, a border collie, displayed her dog’s
ability to correctly identify objects by name without any verbal or physical
cues from her handler. The researcher held up various pictures of a
black-and-white chew toy to Betsy and the dog retrieved the objects from a
different room. These experiments show that over the course of many generations
dogs have bred an ability to understand some basic human gestures. Dogs over a
period of time have learned to read our social cues and can pick up on subtle
cues such as our gaze. They learn this second language aside from barking to
communicate with us at an age of as early as six weeks old.

 

4.    
 What
were researchers in Hungary testing in the experiment with wolf pups?  Explain the results and conclusions of the
experiment.

Researchers in
Hungary tested if wolf pups could be similarly tame like dogs with human
affection at the young cub stage of their existence and wanted to see if they
develop similar relations with humans based on upbringing alone. Drawing from
the premise that dogs and wolves are nearly one hundred percent genetically
similar, the scientists wanted to know if you raised a baby wolf as a dog if it
would then become domesticated like their dog counterparts. First, the scientists’
hand-raised puppies and allowed them to live in their homes and even sleep in
the same beds with the owners. After raising a litter of puppies this way, the
researchers raised a litter of wolf cubs similarly. At first, the wolves didn’t
seem much different from the puppies, snuggling up to their owners when going
outside and had similar play styles to that of puppies. When the wolves hit
roughly the two month stage of their development it became clearer that the
wolves wouldn’t become docile and domesticated similarly to the dogs, often
showing traits of restraint and aggressiveness towards the commands of their
owners. The results concluded that it took many generations of evolving traits
for dogs to become domesticated to their owners and that upbringing alone
wouldn’t make wolves display similar relationships to humans at the first
generation of development.

 

 

5.    
In the
Siberian silver fox experiment, what criteria did researchers use to select
which foxes would be allowed to breed?   What
was observed by the 8th generation of these foxes?

The
researchers performed human selection on foxes and for each generation the
scientists conducting the experiment only allowed the foxes that showed
friendly attention to people to breed a next generation of cubs. Seventeen generations
were bred over the fifty years the experiment was conducted and the evidence
showed these foxes behave closely to today’s dogs. The foxes also evolved to
have similar features as dogs such as short tails and grayer coats. This was a
great experiment that simulated how humans have bred dogs into domesticated
animals over hundreds of years.

 

6.    
Besides
breeding tame foxes, what other traits did scientists in Siberia breed into different
group of foxes? Why did the researchers do this?  What did cross-fostering of both pups and
even embryos reveal about the behavior of these foxes?

Besides breeding gentle foxes, the researchers in Siberia
also bred a group of foxes to be more aggressive. The researchers also bred
aggressive foxes since they wanted to see unique patterns between the tame and
aggressive behaving foxes. The cross-fostering of pups revealed that even with
a tame mother, the aggressive cubs couldn’t be bred out of their harsher
behavior patterns. It proved the difference was genetic between tame and
aggressive foxes.

 

 

7.    
There was an
interesting consequence of breeding for gentle traits.  Describe this surprising result.  What does this suggest to you about the genes
responsible for gentle behavior and the genes that determined the physical
traits that were displayed in these animals?

Tamer foxes produced less adrenaline levels.
While the people conducting the silver fox experiment bred the animals for
gentle traits, they also took the experiment to another level and bred for
aggressive traits and behaviors. To do this, tame mothers were assigned to look
after the aggressive babies and tame mothers were also implanted with embryos
of aggressive pups. This didn’t have an impact towards hindering the aggressive
behavior, thus proving through this experiment that aggression is genetic and
can be passed on to offspring.

 

8.    
Based on the information you
have from the video, hypothesize how wolves were domesticated into what humans
know as dogs (explain how you think this happened).

Dogs share a common ancestor with the
wolf and dogs have been bred into more than four hundred breeds over thousands
of years. While dog populations are in the multi-millions, wolves are endangered
to becoming an extinct species. Dogs are one of the first species to be domesticated
by humans. After watching this video I believe that humans began taking in
wolf pups and eventually were able to tame them. Since less aggressive wolves
were more likely to stick around humans, evolution naturally or humans intentionally bred the
more docile wolves until they shared the qualities we have in domesticated dogs
today. Combining human intelligence and the physical gifts of wolves has carved
its way into forming a mutually beneficial relationship between the two.

 

 

9.    
How is the boxer
genome being used to help humans?

The genome is being used to detect similar diseases common in
humans and dogs including cardiomyopathy. The genome was mapped in 2005 and
found many diseases that are shared between humans and dogs including bone
cancers and diabetes. Boxers had their blood drawn to test for cardiomyopathy
and it was believed their DNA has vital information on the causes of these
diseases. Chromosome 17 had a huge number of differences on its genes.

10.  Finally, from an evolutionary standpoint, discuss your
thoughts on the suggestion that dogs are very successful “parasites” of humans…

Dogs are argued to be parasites on
humans since they serve no useful purpose since they aren’t food in our culture
and that we don’t need them but they need us.
 However, I disagree with that assessment because we
use dogs to serve many integral roles in our society today. Dogs have served as
warning systems for humans since they use their bark to ward off strangers that
may be hostile. Having domesticated dogs helped humans to transition from
hunting and gathering into more sedentary lifestyles. As dogs became integrated into
consistent human activity, humans realized the potentials of further domesticating
other animals for food and work.

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