The Science Behind Man’s Best Friend: The Domestic Dog

Name another species more universally beloved than the domestic dog.

What makes dogs a man’s best friend and the incredible animals they are today?

Imma Perfetto, journalist at Cosmos Magazine, joins Huh? Science Explained to discuss how our furry friends have evolved over time – making them such an intelligent species.

Listen now:

Domestic dogs evolved from an ancient, and now extinct wolf. Using genetic analysis researchers have estimated that dogs and wolves diverged around 27,000 to 40,000 years ago,” Imma said.

“Humans and dogs have a higher proportion of “fast twitch” fibres than wolves in these muscles. This allows us to make small, rapid movements – like a raised eyebrow. And it suggests that having these faster muscle fibres may have contributed to dogs’ abilities to communicate with us.

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“Dogs have a remarkable sense of smell and in fact, it’s amongst the best in the animal kingdom.

“Some breeds such as bloodhounds, have up to 300 million scent receptors, while us humans only have around six million.”

Want to find out more about our beloved dogs?

Listen to the episode of Huh? Science Explained now!