Author Topic: Canine (pet dogs) evolution  (Read 1412 times)

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Offline bahramthered

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Canine (pet dogs) evolution
« on: November 21, 2008, 08:00:15 PM »
Here's a simple question.

Many pet dog owners reffer to something called the canine grin (your dog smilling). I have never seen a sceintist support this. I have seen the grin in several dogs, usually while panting. A dog dosn't seem able to grin while not panting but dosn't always grin while panting. I have never seen or heard (and I watch a lot of discovry) of a wolf displaying this behavior.

So it raised an intresting question to me. Have people selected dogs weither intentially or not for greater facial expression? Personnely I think this might be an example of evolution even under atrifical pressure for other results.

Just curious what everyone else says. Or is this an example of pet lovers seeing something not there?

Offline PingTheServer

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Re: Canine (pet dogs) evolution
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2008, 09:32:35 PM »
I dont think there's any truth to this.  It's just a co-incidence that in certain dogs, at certain times, the shapes of their mouths can resemble the human smile.  So does a banana. 


Offline yoski

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Re: Canine (pet dogs) evolution
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2008, 10:42:26 PM »
but why do dogs smile when they are happy?

i don't think bananas get happy.

I think lots of animals are capable of smiling. 

It can be hard to interpret though.  Just like if dogs are playing or fighting.  The only way to know this is to watch and see where it goes.  Many animals show their teeth when angry, threatened, happy, or if something feels good (like scratching an itch).  Horses smile sometimes when they scratch their ass on a fencepost. 

I think what makes it a smile is context and an array of other physical expressions (like squinting of the eyes, posture, tail movement, &c.).  I don't think humans selected dogs for their smile.

Most people think that dogs selected humans by lingering around campsites and scavenging for food. Eventually people learned to like them.


Offline Azdgari

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Re: Canine (pet dogs) evolution
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2008, 10:44:24 PM »
Chimpanzees smile when they're confrontational/angry.  It's a coincidental similarity between their smiles and ours.  The same is true with dogs.
I have not encountered any mechanical malfunctioning in my spirit.  It works every single time I need it to.

Offline Backspace

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Re: Canine (pet dogs) evolution
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2008, 11:10:48 PM »
Dogs and cats 'smile' with their tails.  If it's up or wagging, they're happy. 

I just realized that analogy works for most men as well...
There is no opinion so absurd that a preacher could not express it.
-- Bernie Katz

Offline yoski

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Re: Canine (pet dogs) evolution
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2008, 11:16:08 PM »
Chimpanzees smile when they're confrontational/angry.  It's a coincidental similarity between their smiles and ours.  The same is true with dogs.

You don't own a dog, do you?




Offline yoski

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Re: Canine (pet dogs) evolution
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2008, 11:19:08 PM »
The odd thing about smiling or being happy, is that usually you are embarrassed.  This, too, is fear; hence the smile. 

What makes something funny is that it makes us uncomfortable.  This is why most humor is crass. 

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Canine (pet dogs) evolution
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2008, 11:43:35 PM »
You don't own a dog, do you?
Well, I don't own one anymore; he died at the ripe old age of 19.
I have not encountered any mechanical malfunctioning in my spirit.  It works every single time I need it to.

Offline yoski

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Re: Canine (pet dogs) evolution
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2008, 11:53:42 PM »
you should have paid him more attention.

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Canine (pet dogs) evolution
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2008, 12:03:17 AM »
You should refrain from making offensive claims about the relationships of others who you don't even know, asshole.
I have not encountered any mechanical malfunctioning in my spirit.  It works every single time I need it to.

Offline yoski

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Re: Canine (pet dogs) evolution
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2008, 12:06:05 AM »
I'm sorry I offended you.  I'm sure you love your dog.

I just find it hard to believe that you never saw him smile from joy. 

That would have offended me too. And I hope you accept my apology.

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Canine (pet dogs) evolution
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2008, 12:19:13 AM »
Apology accepted.  It seems heartfelt.  :)

Anyway, I saw him experience what I can only interpret as great happiness/enjoyment a large number of times.  His "smile", however, was generally a response to physical fatigue, rather than to these experiences.
I have not encountered any mechanical malfunctioning in my spirit.  It works every single time I need it to.

Offline yoski

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Re: Canine (pet dogs) evolution
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2008, 12:47:21 AM »
I will be the first person to say that most of the emotions people ascribe to their pets are nothing more than transference.  But over the years I think I can recognize a happy smile.  It's not that the dog is baring all of his teeth, it's not when he's panting, and it's not when he is lying upside down.  But sometimes, regardless of my mood, the dog is enjoying himself and sometimes will flash a smile for a few seconds.

Maybe two or three seconds, and ten at the most.  But I'm 100% positive it is not from exhaustion or anger. 

I know this is going to sound lame, but maybe somebody should fly the "dog whisper" an email.

Offline bahramthered

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Re: Canine (pet dogs) evolution
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2008, 10:07:49 AM »
This went off the rails pretty quick...

Offline yoski

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Re: Canine (pet dogs) evolution
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2008, 03:08:15 PM »
How is this "off the rails?"  I already answered your question.

Offline bahramthered

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Re: Canine (pet dogs) evolution
« Reply #15 on: November 22, 2008, 03:47:46 PM »
Not much of what I'd call an answer and then the thread turned into a debate between you and Azdgari. I think the point of the thread has been lost and as such is "off the rails", despite 2 quick answers.

Offline yoski

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Re: Canine (pet dogs) evolution
« Reply #16 on: November 22, 2008, 03:52:15 PM »
It is a commonly held belief that humans didn't select dogs; dogs selected humans. 

Most people think that dogs hung around human campsites and scavenged for food.  Eventually humans learned to like dogs.  I don't think there was time between then and now for dogs to evolve smiles.  Plus all the breeding we have done with dogs since then has probably put any of that out of whack.

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Canine (pet dogs) evolution
« Reply #17 on: November 22, 2008, 04:17:50 PM »
I will be the first person to say that most of the emotions people ascribe to their pets are nothing more than transference.  But over the years I think I can recognize a happy smile.  It's not that the dog is baring all of his teeth, it's not when he's panting, and it's not when he is lying upside down.  But sometimes, regardless of my mood, the dog is enjoying himself and sometimes will flash a smile for a few seconds.

This is attribution.  You already know your dog is happy through other body signs, and if he happens to have what looks like a smile on at the time, you conclude that the smile must be because of his happiness.  On what basis do you conclude this, though, aside from your human preconception of "smile = happiness"?

Maybe two or three seconds, and ten at the most.  But I'm 100% positive it is not from exhaustion or anger.

Such was not my point.  My point was that smiles in other species do not necessarily indicate happiness, and in fact there is no rational basis on which to suppose that an animal smile does indicate happiness.
I have not encountered any mechanical malfunctioning in my spirit.  It works every single time I need it to.