Issue 235 - Puppy-dog eyes

rat
Find out more about
Net Languages courses
Basic

Vocabulary: The face

Look and listen.

 

Can you remember? Choose the correct option.

 

The news story

Read and listen to the news story.

Puppy-dog eyes

Why do we love dogs with big, sad eyes? Scientists think they have the answer.

Scientists at the University of Portsmouth have found that dogs can make a “sad” face. This helps them to connect with humans.

The scientists compared the muscles of dogs and wolves. They found that the muscles in their faces are similar. But there was one difference: dogs have two muscles around their eyes that wolves don’t have. Dogs use these muscles to move their eyebrows. This helps them to communicate better with humans.

“When a dog raises its eyebrows the eyes look bigger, like a human baby,” explained one of the scientists. “Humans move their eyebrows in the same way when they are sad,” she said, “so when dogs make this movement, humans naturally want to look after them.”

“Our study shows that dogs have expressive eyebrows because they lived together with humans. Over thousands of years humans preferred to keep dogs with more eyebrow movement, so now all dogs have expressive eyebrows.”

The scientists want to study other animals that humans have lived with; for example, horses and cats.

Find out more about
Net Languages courses
Intermediate

Grammar: Object pronouns

Choose the best option.

The news story

Read and listen to the news story.

Puppy-dog eyes

Why do we love dogs with big, sad eyes? Scientists think they have the answer.

Researchers at the University of Portsmouth have found that dogs can put on a “sad” expression that helps them bond with their human friends.

The scientists compared the anatomies of dogs and wolves and found that the muscles in their faces are similar. However, there was one difference: dogs have two muscles around their eyes that wolves don’t have. Dogs use these muscles to move their eyebrows, allowing them to communicate better with humans.

Raising the eyebrows makes a dog’s eyes look bigger, more like a human baby,” explained one of the authors of the study. “Humans move their eyebrows in a similar way when they are sad,” she added, “so when dogs produce this movement, humans naturally want to look after them.”

“Our research shows that the expressive eyebrows in dogs might be the result of interacting with humans. Maybe our preference for dogs with more eyebrow movement gave them an advantage over other dogs during the time when they were domesticated 33,000 years ago,” explained the author.

Interestingly, the researchers discovered that the Siberian Husky only has one of the two eye muscles that other dog breeds have. They think this might be because the Husky is a very ancient breed and might be a living representative of the transitional stage from wolf to dog.

The team plans to study other animals that humans have had close contact with, including horses and cats.

Find out more about
Net Languages courses
Advanced

Vocabulary: Emotions

Choose the correct option.

The news story

Read and listen to the news story.

Puppy-dog eyes

Why do we love dogs with big, sad eyes? Scientists think they have found the answer.

Researchers at the University of Portsmouth have found that dogs have the ability to put on an appealing, “sad” expression that helps them bond with their human friends.

The scientists compared the anatomies of dogs and wolves and found that their facial muscles are similar, although there was one difference: dogs have two well-defined muscles around their eyes that wolves don’t have. Dogs use these muscles to move their eyebrows, allowing them to communicate better with humans.

“Raising the eyebrows makes a dog’s eyes look bigger, more like a human baby,” explained one of the authors of the study. “Humans move their eyebrows in a similar way when they are sad, so when dogs produce this movement humans feel a strong desire to look after them,” she added.

“Our research shows that the expressive eyebrows in dogs might be the result of interacting with humans. Our preference might have given dogs with more eyebrow movement an advantage over other dogs during the time when they were domesticated 33,000 years ago,” explained the author.

Interestingly, the researchers discovered that the Siberian Husky only has one of the two eye muscles that other dog breeds have. They think this might be because the Husky is a very ancient breed and might be a living representative of the transitional stage from wolf to dog.

The team plans to study other animals that humans have had close contact with, including horses and cats.

Interview: listen to more about the topic

Think about your answers to the following questions. Then listen to somebody answering the same questions. Were your answers similar?

Find out more about
Net Languages courses