Humans Are The Reason Dogs Are Cute

By Courtney Flannery 2014-07-18 07:55:03
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Most of my friends have pets of some kind, whether it's a few fish or a whole menagerie with lizards, cats and of course, dogs. Now, not being a dog person doesn't mean that I still don't find pooches absolutely adorable. I just don't like cleaning up after them, or walking them. A recent study has discovered that it's no accident that we are drawn to canines and find them terribly cute.

According to Uncover Cailfornia , the reason we find dogs so cute is something called the domestication syndrome. Now what exactly is this? The phenomenon was first observed by the father of evolution, Charles Darwin nearly 140 years ago. He was seeking answers to why wild animals and domesticated animals, like dogs, had features that varied greatly. Today's research was carried out at Humboldt University of Berlin in Germany.

It turns out that humans have a pretty big part in domestication syndrome. When we breed animals for characteristics we like, such as floppy ears, fur color or snout length, we are actually favoring genetic defects. Humans find some features appealing that nature just did not want in the gene pool. This explains why a wild dog, or wolf, look similar to a dog but just isn't quite the same. It's probable that other animals, like birds and horses, lso have different physical appearances because of human intervention.

Humans probably wouldn't have survived without our domestic pets. We relied on them in the past and still are dependent on farming animals to make our food. Cats and dogs chase away rodents and pests and provide companionship. It's definitely interesting to see how humans are a big part of the global ecosystem, even if we sometimes don't do the things nature intends. It also may say a lot about how humans have evolved to manipulate the world around them. So next time you see a cute puppy and can't help but pet it, you have our species to thank for its adorableness.



Speaking of dogs, if you're anything like me you not only love animals but trivia. One of my favorite YouTube channels, Mental Floss, recently released a video with 41 facts about man's best friend. It's not only entertaining but definitely gives you some awesome facts to spew the next time you're looking to impress a dog lover at the bar. Even if you're not a bar hopper, check out the video above and educate yourself.
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