Sunday December 16, 2018
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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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Neanderthals And Sapiens Both Faced Risks

But the new study is not the final word on Neanderthal trauma

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Neanderthal
A 3D-printed model of a Neanderthal man stands at the stand of FIT AG during a media presentation at the international fairs FabCon 3.D and Rapid.Tech, Germany. VOA

Life as a Neanderthal was no picnic, but a new analysis says it was no more dangerous than what our own species faced in ancient times.

That challenges what the authors call the prevailing view of our evolutionary cousins, that they lived risky, stressful lives. Some studies have suggested they had high injury rates, which have been blamed on things like social violence, attacks by carnivores, a hunting style that required getting close to large prey, and the hazards of extensive travel in environments full of snow and ice.

While it’s true that their lives were probably riskier than those of people in today’s industrial societies, the vastly different living conditions of those two groups mean comparing them isn’t really appropriate, said Katerina Harvati of the University of Tuebingen in Germany.

Neanderthal model
Neanderthal model. Reconstruction of a Neanderthal (Homo neanderthalensis) based on the La Chapelle-aux-Saints fossils. Neanderthals inhabited Europe and western Asia between 230,000 and 29,000 years ago. They did not use complex tools but had mastery of fire and built shelters. It is thought that they had language and a complex social structure, living in small family groups and hunting for food. It is not known why Neanderthals became extinct, but one theory is that they were outcompeted by modern humans (Homo sapiens). Reconstruction by Elisabeth Daynes of the Daynes Studio, Paris, France.

A better question is whether Neanderthals faced more danger than our species did when we shared similar environments and comparable lifestyles of mobile hunter-gatherers, she and study co-authors say in a paper released Wednesday by the journal Nature.

To study that, they focused on skull injuries. They reviewed prior studies of fossils from western Eurasia that ranged from about 80,000 to 20,000 years old. In all they assessed data on 295 skull samples from 114 individual Neanderthals, and 541 skull samples from 90 individuals of our own species, Homo sapiens.

Injury rates turned out to be about the same in both species.

Also Read: Neanderthal Genes Helped Early Humans Beings to Fight Flu, Hepatits

That questions the idea that the behavior of Neanderthals created particularly high levels of danger, Marta Mirazon Lahr of Cambridge University wrote in an accompanying commentary.

But the new study is not the final word on Neanderthal trauma, she wrote. It didn’t include injuries other than to the skull. And scientists still have plenty of work to do in seeking the likely cause of injuries and evidence of care for the injured, which could give insights into the behavior of both Neanderthals and ancient members of our species, she wrote. (VOA)