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Are dogs smarter than wolves?

Are dogs smarter than wolves?

Main theories suggest that dogs evolved from wolves. But does this mean they are smarter? Roughly speaking, we can already say that experts say no. However, this also does not mean that wolves are smarter than dogs.

After all, researchers on the subject say, wolves and dogs adapt to their environment. What happens is that they both have different cognitive abilities that suit their specific lifestyles. Therefore, it is necessary to consider these skills separately.

In 2021, a comparative examination between wolves and dogs concluded that dogs were twice as likely to find food based on cues, and on that occasion, researchers pointed to or looked at food bowls.

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In a 2017 study, a study with a similar suggestion showed that both dogs and wolves identified utensils with food. But when investigators showed an empty bowl, the wolves stayed put, while the dogs kept trying. This suggests that wolves have a better understanding of cause and effect than dogs.

The theory associated with this occasion suggests that wolves are responsible for their food, and only obtain it from humans, so it is highly adaptive for them to understand something about causality.

Scientists seek to understand whether dogs are smarter than wolves, taking into account evolution (Image: Wirestock/Freepik)

According to the Wolf Science Center (Vienna), wolves are more adept at working with each other, while dogs are usually better at performing tasks with humans, because domestication has brought about a completely different picture.

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Evolution from wolves to dogs

In 2020, in a special episode about the Netflix series Mundo Mistério, we spoke with experts to understand the evolution of wolves into dogs – one of the topics covered in the series, based on scientific curiosity.

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Experts explained to us at the time that history began with the approach of men and wolves, at a time when we were still hunters and gatherers and had not yet developed agriculture. We shared the same space and had common interests: obtaining food, shelter, and protection from predators, for example.

As a result, coexistence gave rise to the process of coevolution, that is, when the evolutionary process of one species decisively influences the evolution of another species.

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Scientists also told us, at the time, that before there was the affectionate relationship we see between humans and dogs today, there was a relationship of mutual interest: wolves approaching human camps (or caves) in search of food scraps.

It is likely that these wolves, at some point, at the beginning of the domestication process, assisted men in hunting activities, and that the first domesticated animals in history were orphans or abandoned wolf pups that were adopted by our ancestors.

In a study published in the scientific journal Current biology In 2022, researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggested that one of the major genetic mutations responsible for small dog breeds, such as the Chihuahua, was already present in wolves more than 50,000 years ago.

Are dogs smarter than cats?

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Previously, a very similar question was asked: Who is smarter, a cat or a dog? In one of the rare studies that conducted a direct comparison between these animals, researchers concluded that dogs and cats are intelligent at the same level, but in different ways, within their innate abilities. The argument is that animals are naturally smarter at what they need.

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source: Mammals review, Current biology, Scientific reports