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Nova Dogs Decoded

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Nova (PBS) ran a spectacular show called Dogs Decoded a while back. Lots of new and provocative info...

A few tidbits:

- "There are more dogs than babies worldwide, nearly half a billion."

- "The key to a dog's ability to read our emotions might lie in something we all do without knowing it. When we express our emotions in our faces, we don't do it symmetrically. It's been shown that, if you take somebody's face when they're expressing some emotion like happiness or anger or something like that, there is a difference between the left and right side.

"One of the theories is that maybe our emotions are more faithfully presented in the right side of our face, and that's the side that we tune in to. When we look at a face, we have what's known as a natural left-gaze bias, so you naturally look much more towards the left, i.e. the right-hand side, of somebody's face. Eye-tracking software demonstrates that, when presented with a human face, we nearly always look left first.

"Dogs, when they are looking at pictures of dog faces or objects, they will look randomly on the left or the right. But, when it comes to human faces..." dogs gaze left.

-It seems that many humans can distinguish dog emotions just by hearing their barks. "... in the study, you could see that people can discriminate six barks, and most of them were quite successful in this... . In the natural world, dogs' wild relatives, wolves, only bark as a warning. Amazingly, during the course of domestication, dogs may have evolved their elaborate vocal repertoire especially to communicate with us. "

...and this was just the first few minutes of the show.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.




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