There are so many designer breeds of dogs these days, specially bred to look or behave in a certain way. It turns out that while selecting for particular physical or behavioral traits, we have inadvertently changed the shapes of the dog’s brains as well.
Researchers from Harvard University used an MRI to look at the brains of 33 breeds of dogs and compared the shape of the brain structures. They observed the most difference in the parts of the brain associated with smell and taste. The team suggest that these areas may show the most difference because they are linked to traits that are desirable to humans, such as hunting ability.
All 62 purebred dogs involved were pets, as the team speculate that working dogs, like drug detecting dogs, may have even more difference in their brain shapes. While this is just preliminary research it does point the way for future research into the role brain structure plays in behavior.
Source: Science News for Students
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