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I found a couple of scientific articles about dogs that may be of interest to my readers.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/12/151216082339.htm A new twist in the tale of dogs’ origins

The origin of dogs has inspired a lingering controversy in academia. Where and when did dogs first split off from wolves? One of the top dogs in this dispute, population genetics expert Peter Savolainen of Sweden’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology, isn’t about to roll over. He hopes his latest research will finally settle the matter.

Some researchers say canines first split off from wolves in the Middle East; others say it happened in Europe. But Savolainen has long held that dogs originated in South East Asia alone, and he says his team has compiled new evidence that confirms his earlier findings.

The study concludes that the split with wolves occurred about 33,000 years ago.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/12/151216082345.htm Dogs give friends food.

Compared to the rest of the animal kingdom, the human capacity for cooperation is something quite special. Cooperating with one another requires a certain amount of prosocial behaviour. This means helping others without any direct personal benefit.

Prosociality has already been demonstrated in animals that are very closely related with humans, i.e. primates. In other animals, the phenomenon has so far only been studied experimentally in rats and jackdaws. One study found prosocial behaviour in dogs toward humans. According to Friederike Range of the Messerli Research Institute, however, it remains questionable whether the dogs were merely reacting to the communication from the humans and were being “obedient” or if they were truly exhibiting prosocial behaviour.

“Dogs and their nearest relatives, the wolves, exhibit social and cooperative behaviour, so there are grounds to assume that these animals also behave prosocially toward conspecifics. Additionally, over thousands of years of domestication, dogs were selected for special social skills,” explains study director Range. For this reason, Range and her colleagues Mylene Quervel-Chaumette, Rachel Dale and Sarah Marshall-Pescini studied 16 dogs to test their readiness to benefit familiar versus unfamiliar partners.

Just in case you run out of reading material.

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