Gravure en noir et blanc montrant un loup et un chien en costume de ville.

Domestication weakens specie

Knowing how to count is an advantage in the wild, but less so in the domesticated state.

This is the hypothesis put forward by researchers at the Vienna Veterinary School (Austria) after comparing the performance of wolves and dogs.
In an initial study in 2012, eleven Canis lupus had to choose between two opaque tubes into which they saw pieces of cheese fall by pressing a buzzer. The wolves, who had to choose the tube with the most cheese, were able to tell the difference between 2 and 3 pieces and between 3 and 4.
Two years later, the same team performed the same exercise on 13 dogs. All failed the test.

Humans to blame

Researchers believe that this loss of ability could be due to domestication.
In the wild, counting is used, for example, to avoid confronting a group larger than its own or to make the right hunting choices. « Compared with wolves, domestic dogs no longer need to search for food, they have a safe place to sleep and even reproduction is controlled by man. They are therefore excluded from natural selection« , concludes Friederike Range, lead author of the study.

Artificial intelligence translation of an original text by Sciences & Avenir
Click here to read the French version
Gravure en noir et blanc montrant un loup et un chien en costume de ville.
(gravure de Grandville)

We urge you to (re)read the fable of the Wolf and the Dog by Monsieur de La Fontaine.

association Le Klan du Loup

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