Every dog owner knows intuitively that there's something special about the high degree of mutual understanding and empathy that exists between humans and their proverbial best friends. Now, an internationally renowned Hungarian ethologist traces the roots of this unique relationship back to the unusual circumstances in which the two species co-evolved over many millennia. The author argues that the longstanding alliance of dogs and humans arose from behavioural traits present in the original wolves from which all modern dogs are descended. Wolves, like humans, are highly intelligent social predators, with well-developed cooperative problem-solving and communications skills. These basic intellectual skills were refined and enhanced over tens of thousands of years, resulting in the enormously varied "artificial animals" we see today which in a mutual relationship can interpret their master's commands in much the same way as their masters can understand the pet's thoughts, desires and motivations. A highly personal and engaging work, "If Dogs Could Talk" makes the case that, by closely observing the cognitive behavior of dogs, we can also learn a good deal about how the human mind works.About the Author:
Vilmos Csanyi is Professor and Chair of the Department of Ethology at Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest. He has written extensively about his work for both professional and general audiences.
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