We all know that dogs evolved from their wolf ancestors, and their evolution is far from over. Since domestic dogs have spent so much time alongside humans, they've actually begun to evolve in order to better communicate with us. If you've ever noticed how expressive your dog's eyes are, it's because they evolved that way!
A study conducted in Britain and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that those famous "puppy dog eyes" look we all know and love is actually an evolutionary trait.
As part of their study, researches observed the facial structure of six dogs and two wolves. The idea here was the see the difference. Obviously, both are canines, but researchers hypothesized that there might be a difference in the way wolves and dogs communicated with their faces.
Specifically, researchers analyzed the bone structure and muscle structure of the dogs' and wolves' heads. While there typically isn't much muscle difference within a species, it became clear that there is an exception with dogs and wolves.
Thorough research revealed that the domestic pups had two muscles surrounding the eye. Pup use the muscles around the eye in order to raise their inner eyebrow. These muscles, however, were completely absent in the wolves.
So, why would dogs have these muscles and wolves wouldn't? Evolution! Over time, dogs developed these muscles around their eyes.
One of the team's researchers, Juliane Kaminski, theorizes that these eyebrow-raising muscles were developed in order to communicate with humans, specifically to elicit a nurturing emotion in humans.
This theory was backed up by another part of the study, which observed the behavior of 27 different dogs and nine different wolves when interacting with humans. As expected, the dogs raised their eyebrows more than the wolves.
So, there you have it - a scientific explanation behind those "puppy dog eyes" that always make you melt.
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