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Cooperative communication with humans evolved to emerge early in domestic dogs

Citation

Salomons, Hannah et al. (2021), Cooperative communication with humans evolved to emerge early in domestic dogs, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.2547d7wqm

Abstract

While we know that dogs evolved from wolves, it remains unclear how domestication affected dog cognition. One hypothesis suggests dog domestication altered social maturation by a process of selecting for an attraction to humans. Under this account, dogs became more flexible in using inherited skills to cooperatively-communicate with a new social partner that was previously feared and expressed these unusual social skills early in development. Here we tested dog (N=44) and wolf (N=37) puppies, 5-18 weeks old, on a battery of temperament and cognition tasks. We found that dog puppies were more attracted to humans, read human gestures more skillfully, and made more eye contact with humans than wolf puppies. The two species were similarly attracted to objects and performed similarly on nonsocial measures of memory and inhibitory control. These results are consistent with the idea that domestication enhanced the cooperative-communicative abilities of dogs as selection for attraction to humans altered social maturation.

Methods

See STAR Methods section of paper for data collection protocol.  

Usage Notes

The zipped folder contains all the data and R codes (commented for clarity) used for analysis of each test in the battery.  These data files have been updated (on September 30, 2021) to ensure that the names are consistent across all files - specifically, four individuals (now "HoneyPockets", "LittleMan", "Wade", and CCI10" across all data sets) had some inconsistencies in spelling and spacing in their names in the previous data files. It also contains a README file further explaining the content. 

Funding

Office of Naval Research, Award: N00014-16-12682

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Award: NIH-1Ro1HD097732

National Science Foundation, Award: DGE-1746060

American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation, Award: 2700

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Award: NIH-1Ro1HD097732