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Its all in the eyes; new study shows why dogs fall in love with humans

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Don’t be baffled by how scientists show the transformation of wolf – from wild beast to an adorable, friendly canine companion. Because, a new study, headed by Takefumi Kikusui of the Department of Animal Science and Biotechnology at Azabu University in Japan, puts forward a new theory that dogs and homo sapiens progressed together and became ‘buddies’ over the centuries through the mutual eye contact and the higher level of oxytocin (sometimes known as “love hormone”). This, in turn, cultivated the faith and emotion between the two.

It is noteworthy that previous researches suggested that a similar behavior in mother and her child leads to long lasting love and protection. When a mother locks gaze with her baby, it stimulates production of oxytocin, resulting in an outflow of love, strong bond and a sense of protection.

The study, published in the US journal Science, unveiled  that, “Dogs are more skillful than wolves and chimpanzees, the closest respective relatives of dogs and humans, at using human social communicative behaviors.”

The group of researchers observed 30 dog owners communicate with their canine pals for half an hour, and then measured the oxytoxin levels in dogs and their owners, revealed the first part of the study.

The second part focused more on finding out whether the oxytocin actually led to the prolonged stare. The researchers administered oxytocin to a new pack of dogs, and then observed how they communicated with their owners. On a strange note, oxytocin administered to female dogs drew higher levels in both the dogs and their owners when compared with male dogs. However, researchers failed to prove why this happened.

In a nutshell, this interesting research implies that over time as we tamed dogs, they might have evolved with a mutually benign ability to connect with humans exactly the same way that we bond with each other.

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Study Shows That Dogs Born in Summers Are More Likely to Suffer From Heart Disease

Owing to higher level of outdoor air pollution during summers, dogs born during this time are more likely to be at higher risk of heart disease, according to a study.

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hormone oxytocin
Dog's hormone oxytocin sensitivity study. Pixabay

Owing to higher level of outdoor air pollution during summers, dogs born during this time are more likely to be at higher risk of heart disease, according to a study.

For both dogs and humans, outside air pollution during pregnancy and at the time of birth appears to play a role in later development of heart disease.

 

Man's best friend
Dogs are among the most popular domestic animals. Wikimedia

 

Overall, dogs have a 0.3 to 2 per cent risk of developing heart disease depending on breed, but among those that are genetically predisposed to the heart disease, the birth month difference in risk was found to be marginal.

However, breeds not genetically predisposed to the disease, such as Norfolk terrier, Berger Picard, American Staffordshire terrier, English toy spaniel, Bouvier des flandres, Border terrier and Havanese were also found to be at highest risk.

This suggests that the effect supports an environmental mechanism, the researchers said, in a paper published in the journal Scientific Reports.

The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, also supports earlier findings in humans pointing to the role of early gestational exposure to fine air particulates and increased risk of heart disease later in life.

 

People raised in cities without pets at risk from mental illness
People raised in cities without pets at risk from mental illness. Pixabay

“It’s important to study dogs because the canine heart is a remarkably similar model to the human cardiovascular system,” said Mary Regina Boland, Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania in the US.

“Also, humans and dogs share their lives together and are exposed to similar environmental effects, so seeing this birth season-cardiovascular disease relationship in both species illuminates mechanisms behind this birth-season disease relationship,” Boland added.

Because dogs’ pregnancies are shorter than humans (lasting only 2 months), pollution as a possible mechanism is still thought to be through the mother’s inhalation of air pollution effecting the uterine environment, which in turn affects the developing cardiovascular system of the baby or puppy, the study showed.

For the new study, the team examined 129,778 canines encompassing 253 different breeds.

Also Read: Study Shows, Dogs of 8 Weeks of Age are Found Most Attractive by Humans

The research team found that risk climbs to the greatest level in dogs born in July, who have a 74 per cent greater risk of heart disease than would typically be expected. (IANS)

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