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New Evidence Supports A Unique Dog-Human Bond

October 24, 2017

In recent years, scientists have gained a much better understanding of the relationship between humans and dogs. For starters, the bond between our human ancestors and our dog's is ancient. Archeologist found remains of domesticated dogs dating back some 30,000 years. During the middle of the Upper Paleolithic period, humans began to build settlements, started painting figurative art on rock walls, invented ancient appliances for cooking and invited the dog into their home.

Early canine remains from differing parts of the world suggest that dogs were selectively bred thousands of years ago to pull sleds, hunt and protect the settlement. Although most breeds in America are descendants of dogs brought from Europe, genetic evidence has led scientists to conclude that dogs also made the journey over the Bering land bridge that once connected Asia to North America. Unlike any other animal, man's best friend seems to have followed its human companion on all the journeys of global expansion.

With the more recent developments in brain imaging technology, scientists continue to be amazed at how this enduring relationship has affected both parties. MRI scans confirm that activity in certain areas of the human brain associated with emotions and feelings are also triggered in the same regions of the canine brain. Since our furry friends navigate the world with their noses, measuring neural responses to the smell of people have provided additional insight into our dogs' social behavior.

Amazingly, dogs seem to prioritize the scent of their human companions over anything or anyone else. Moreover, strong links also exist in auditory areas of the canine brain where dogs uniquely respond to human (voices and sighs) and dog (barks and growls) sounds. Today, medical researchers are studying the link between diseases (like diabetes) that affect both man and dogs to find new ways of preventing, diagnosing and treating many common maladies. In conclusion, those special feelings you share with your dog through eye contact are real and come from a dog-human bond with strong physiological connections.

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