Dognitive science

Most of us can’t help wondering what might be going through the heads of man’s best friends, or whether dogs can “think” in any traditional sense at all. A new book, Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know, sheds some light on the issue of how canines’ brains function vis-a-vis those of humans. Among the highlights: Dogs “see faster” than people in that their eyes take “snapshots” at a faster rate; they can “smell time” in the sense that their tracking capabilities depend on the fact that footprints further toward the end of a trackee’s path–that is, those that are newest–exude a stronger odor, therefore drawing dogs along by dint of olfactory force; dogs’ hearing is actually inferior to that of people; and the concept of the “alpha dog” may in fact be a myth.

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