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[xmca] NOVA documentary on Public Broadcasting [PBS]
I want to point out a fascinating documentary I just watched called "Dogs
Decoded" that is relevant to topics on CHAT.
The evolution of the human/dog relationship was explored and some of the
discoveries are astounding.
There is one particular dog that recognizes over 350 distinct words. When
this particular dog is shown a PICTURE [a representation] in 2 dimensions of
an object it has never seen before it can go into another room and locate
that object. This was an activity that the dog had never engaged in before.
The show also documents an ongoing experiment in Russia [since 1950] that
has been trying to domesticate silver foxes. In each generation, the tamest
1% of the foxes [least agressive and most "attuned" to humans] were selected
for breeding. Within 8 generations, the wild dogs were sharing the
attributes of domestic dogs such as "orienting to humans eye gaze and
responding to pointing gestures. This "attuning" behavior is unique to
domesticated dogs and is not seen in any other canines or primates.
This level of interspecies attunement and joint coordination of shared
activity has profound significance for thinking about "human "attunement".
The documentary also showed infant wolves being raised with humans from
birth but they could not be domesticated. The implications are that because
dogs have shared and coordinated activities [communication] with humans,[for
thousands of years] humans ability to "communicate" has transformed the
developmental trajectory of dogs who now are uniquely able to
"understand" human communication in a way that is not evident in any other
I believe all NOVA documentaries can be accessed as podcasts after they have
aired on TV.
I would highly recommend watching this fascinating documentary.
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