Wolves can follow humans' gaze
Mar 29, 2011
For an animal to follow another animal's gaze, in order to sense where food is hidden or where danger is coming from, is an advanced mental skill that researchers now say wolves possess, according to a recent article in Discovery News.
Only humans, chimpanzees and ravens were thought to possess this evolutionary thought process.
Young wolves of about 14 weeks were shown to be able to follow the direction of a blank stare, according to animal behavior scientists at the University of Vienna, who published their findings in the Public Library of Science (PLoS) One.
The scientists also believe that there are two different kinds of mental processes at work, depending on whether the gaze is intent or blank.
Wolves, also known as canis lupus, used to roam North America, Europe and Asia, but are now on the endangered list, according to National Geographic. Wolves eat other mammals, as well as birds, fish, lizards, snakes and fruit, according to the news source.
The University of Vienna researchers hope to uncover details about social interactions through their research on gaze-following.