Posted on 21 August 2008 by Alison Glennon
Well not quite, but Today’s New Scientist (dated 23 August) says that thousands of years spent living among people have done remarkable things to dogs’ intellects. The domestic dog has come a long way from the wild wolf!
It says that there is scientific backing to say dogs have a sense of right and wrong, for instance – and that they can communicate through their bark or by expression or by gazing at an object.
Birds, too, have been demonstrated to be more intelligent than was thought – self recognition, a trait which humans develop at around 18 months and which has only been previously shown in mammals, has been shown in a magpie.
As New Scientist also says – try telling a pet owner any different – that their pet can’t feel pain, excitement, love or other supposedly ‘human’ emotions.
I can’t help but hope that it can work both ways, and people can learn from the intuition that our companion animals often seem to show when their human companions are troubled or in pain. Living together so closely can benefit us all!