Eye shape, colour and facial markings are central in canine dialogue.
Scientists did an analysis of 25 canids comparing features of their face and eyes.
Species having striking eyes usually live and hunt in groups.
Because eye-based conversations are critical to TRAP prey.
Species having camouflaged eyes commonly live alone or in pairs.
Humans express anger, or moment of mischief, via a simple look. But we are not the only ones to relay message by way of our gaze – wolves and dogs too exchange dialog using just their eyes.
Sayoko Ueda of the Tokyo Institute of Technology and Kyoto University spearheaded the study.
Professor Ueda’s team made three groups out of the species. Group A —- was formed of the grey wolf, coyote, and golden jackal – their irises were lighter than their pupils, and faces had markings that made their eyes easy to spot.
Group B — was formed of manned wolf, the dingo and the kit fox. These animals had facial markings that show the position of the eyes and the pupils aren’t visible.
They are inclined towards the single life, or bonded pairs. Bush dogs, tanukis, and African wild dogs formed Group C.
These canids didn’t have markings around the eye to highlight the feature from the rest of the face. These species are more inclined towards living in social packs, but they hunt alone.
Whilst all the three species gazed at each other nearly equal number of times, but the wolves held their gaze for a much longer time than the foxes or bush dogs.
Gaze communication can possibly be the key tool for other canids, like domestic dogs, the researchers affirm. Previous studies indicate domestic dogs are more likely to make direct eye contact with humans than wolves raised in the same setting, implying they are more adaptable to humans. This could mean that after thousands of years of cohabitation, dogs see us in socially useful ways that wolves never will,’ according to a report in the PlosOne blog.