The wolf (Canis lupus) shows attachment for some humans, reveals a study published in Ecology and evolution. The results of these behavioral tests invalidate the theory that the domestication of the dog (Canis familiaris) would have resulted in their attachment to humans. Three months ago, researchers highlighted the involvement of two populations of wolves, now extinct, in the emergence of the dog which took place between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago. “VSThe behavioral trait likely existed in the ancestral populations of wolves from which we domesticated the dog“, sums up to Science and Future Christina Hansen Wheat, zoologist and first author of the study.
Distinguishing the familiar from the unfamiliar
Test passed with flying colors for the ten gray wolves in the study: like dogs, they recognize familiar people and adopt a behavior of attachment towards them. But back to basics: what is attachment? It is defined on an affective dependence, between two individuals, which lasts over time. It is the set of attitudes that the person or animal then adopts to promote closeness. It is observed in particular in infants and the tests to estimate it are also identical.
Raised since they were 10 days old, wolves like dogs, twelve Alaskan huskies, have been regulars in the company of certain trainers. You might be wondering why the scientists raised the Cubs themselves?…”Of the previous research has shown that the only way to work with wolves and test them like we did is to start hand training before wolf pups open their eyes“says the researcher. This method is also used in other research centers working with wolves, such as the Wolf Science Center in Austria and several Wolf Centers in the United States.