You know the way your dog looks at you with raised eyebrows and those heart-melting puppy dog eyes? That’s no accident.
Your dog knows that looking intently at you with raised eyebrows will appeal to you. A new study reports that centuries of domestication have radically reshaped dogs’ eyebrow anatomy, making their faces—and emotions—easily readable to people.
When meeting a human’s gaze, dogs often raise their inner eyebrow muscles to make their eyes look larger and more appealing. They don’t do that if your back is turned. And their gray wolf ancestors don’t have those eyebrow muscles, according to the University of Portsmouth, UK study.
Dogs Read Your Emotions
The study is the latest example of how 20,000 years of cohabitation has made our pets finely tuned interpreters of human emotion—possibly more so than any other species. Data shows humans are moved by infant-like canine features, known as paedomorphism—and dogs know it.
Julie Kaminsky, the study’s leader, writes “… this [eyebrow] movement … resembles an expression humans produce when sad, so its production in dogs may trigger a nurturing response. We hypothesize that dogs’ expressive eyebrows are the result of selection based on humans’ preferences.”
Source: National Geographic