Wolf pups surprise scientists

Scientist Christina Hansen Wheat of Stockholm University, Sweden was surprised to see eight-week-old wolf pups willingly chase a ball and bring it back to a person that they had never seen before.

Previously researchers had assumed that this behavior was limited to dogs and was based on learned communication cues that developed between dogs and people. They had tested three different wolf litters and none of the pups in the first two showed interest in the fetch game. But three pups from the third litter did fetch a tennis ball.

The purpose of their studies is to compare wolves and dogs to see where the behavior that people see in dogs comes from. This is another step in the process of unraveling the similarities between wolves and dogs.

Sue’s note: Although this is an exciting observation for the researchers, consider that Golfing cockatoos can combine elements to make tools in the same manner that some other animals can and beyond the ability of most young children. When you look at the animal kingdom as a whole, there are many amazing things we can learn that should not be a surprise. Testing any species that does not communicate the way we do, severally limits our ability to understand that species. This is evident with people as well. Think of a people group that has a different language and culture. How well can you communicate to them and they to you? While we can test other species we will never, and I repeat never know what they are thinking or why they do what they do. Anyone who claims that they know what an animal thinks and why they do what they do is misinformed. We can only surmise based on our personal interpretation and knowledge of that animal.

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