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View Diary: Morning Feature: DK GreenRoots - Wolves and Predators (143 comments)

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  •  Wolves have a type of intelligence that's (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Orinoco, winterbanyan, NCrissieB, kktlaw

    surprising to people not accustomed to it. They tend to 'think things through' more than dogs do and figure out many ways around obstacals, which makes working with and containing them challenging for those who do so. They are social in different ways than we expect and many have a very interesting sense of humor. Also a surprise for many who work with them!

    Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. The Druid

    by FarWestGirl on Thu Jul 02, 2009 at 06:39:57 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  "Wolves think things through" (5+ / 0-)

      From the Department of Stuff I Heard or Read Somewhere: Some expert was claiming that humans living in the wild (hunter-gatherers) have a better developed sense of smell, and canines living in the wild (i.e. wolves) have better problem-solving and strategizing skills, than do civilized humans or domesticated dogs, respectively.

      His suggestion was that in the symbiotic development of dogs and humans living together, a sort of division of labor has emerged, with the dogs doing the olfactory work, and humans doing the strategic thinking and decision-making.

      I have no idea how to test this proposition, but it's interesting to think about. If it's true at all, I wonder if the phenomenon is strictly cultural and/or experiential, or if occurs at the level of genetic evolution to some degree.

      •  It's becoming clear (5+ / 0-)

        that brain development in humans is somewhat of a use it or lose it proposition. Perhaps the same is true of domesticated dogs, not having to do much problem solving or strategizing, they simply don't develop those skills.

        "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government is incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

        by Orinoco on Thu Jul 02, 2009 at 08:16:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  True, but use it or lose it doesn't just apply (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Orinoco, NCrissieB

          in individuals, capacities and traits can be either conserved or selected against in bloodlines, too. Capacities present can be developed or left fallow, but trying to teach something that just lacks capacity is tough. Try teaching a dog with no setter or pointer blood to freeze in place and lift a paw when they notice a certain scent. Not impossible, but much easier to start with those who inherited the instinct.

          Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. The Druid

          by FarWestGirl on Fri Jul 03, 2009 at 12:05:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  A bit oversimplified. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DBunn, winterbanyan, FarWestGirl

        Wolves are better at the sorts of problem-solving they need for living in the wild.  Domesticated dogs are better at the sorts of problem-solving they need for living with humans.  Each struggles in the others' environment, which is probably why wolves who live with humans usually follow the family dogs' leads despite the wolves' size and strength.  I've not seen any studies on it, and don't know to what extent it's happened, but I'd guess that dogs who fell in with wild wolf packs - and if they were accepted as pack members - would follow the wolves' leads in the wild.

        It's a bit oversimplified to conclude that wolves are better problem-solvers than domesticated dogs.  I think it's better to say each solves different sets of problems.

        •  Agreed (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          In my comment, I left open the matter of whether the posited changes in the capabilities of dogs, resulting from their symbiotic association with humans, is a matter of essence (genetic evolution) or simply of the culture of human/canine "packs" and/or the individual life experience of each domestic dog. And of course, we could still question whether the posited changes are real at all, in a generalizable way.

          This type of ambiguity is a common feature of items submitted by the Department of Stuff I Heard or Read Somewhere :)

          It would be interesting to compare the individual and social behavior of wild dogs with that of wild wolves...

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