Dogs’ Evolution Shows Why They ‘Love’ Gnawing on Bones
Scientists say they have discovered why dogs love to eat meat and bones.
Ancient canines adopted pack-living about eight million years ago, to hunt larger prey, according to researchers.The resulting evolution of their jaws gradually turned the ancestors of modern wolves, and ultimately our own pets, into “hypercarnivores”. He and his colleagues from the National University of Colombia have created a canine “family tree”, piecing together the relationships between each of the more than 300 dog species.
The only way that dogs roaming the open plains could snatch very large prey from a herd was to work together.”And after many generations of this grouping behaviour, there are new selective pressures on their [skull shape],” said the researcher. This pressure meant that animals with larger teeth and stronger jaws were more likely to succeed in hunting, and to survive to pass on their large-toothed, strong-jawed genes to the next generation.
Animals with stronger jaws and larger canine teeth would have been more successful hunters. "They developed strength in their muscles - especially the muscles that close their mouth," said Dr Munoz-Doran. "And bones that are more resistant to bending, so they could support the mechanical strains of biting the prey. Over time, they became adapted to be ‘hypercarnivorous’."The researcher pointed out that domestic dogs had "very good evolutionary reasons to enjoy chewing a bone".
"They have the tools to do that, and they want to use their tools".
Source Article: BBC