Inside The Minds of Our Best Friends – Part II
Much of what we know about casts and dogs is new information. For years, researchers devoted their efforts exploring the wild animal kingdom on the assumption that our common household pets could not possibly be as interesting or smart as their brethren who relied on their wiles to survive.
The, in 1994, Vilmos Csåanyi, a Hungarian ethologist (those who study animal behavior with emphasis on the behavioral patterns that occur in natural environments) at Budapest's Eötvös Loránd University, began wondering what might be going on in the mind of his mixed-breed dog, Flip. His research on Flip and other dogs led to new understandings about the canine mind, particularly the adjustments it had to make as the animal evolved from wolf to dog and became a tractable companion to humans perhaps 40,000 years ago.
That transition required dogs to rewire their brains in order to live with a species other than their own, one that would dominate them, care for them, give them new roles, and at times present them with new, unpredictable and indecipherable responses and cues. They succeed phenomenally.
Research into the minds of domestic cats is newer still, and much is still being discovered. We do know that cats became intertwined in our lives much more recently than dogs, possibly 9,000 years ago. That development had a profound effect on these highly independent creatures, who had to give up their solitary ways, share their territory with unrelated cats and learn not to become alarmed at our every sudden or strange movement.
In doing so, cats developed not only a keen sense of intuition about humans–they also developed a repertoire of vocalizations largely absent in cats that live in the wild.
Over this series of visual stories, we investigate a wealth of fascinating topics about our best friends–from their evolution and domestication to their extraordinary senses and rich forms of verbal and nonverbal communication.
In the coming visual stories, we are going to share how experts' discoveries have given us a deeper appreciation of our pets and created a more mutually rewarding experience with them. We hope it will do the same for you and your best friends.