Wolves show scientists are barking up the wrong tree

It’s believed that dogs are more sensitive to human gestures and desires than wolves due to their genetic adaptation during thousands of years of domestication.

One recent study indicates this might not be strictly true.

Story: Wolves show scientists are barking up the wrong tree

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

6 Responses to Wolves capable of as much sensitivity to humans as pet dogs?

  1. TimothyB says:

    Nice study but in my eyes rather useless to any debate about wolves in the wild. That is of course unless the author’s secret agenda is to populate the wilds with home bred wolves and releasing them. I doubt that is his agenda. In short, once tamed a wolf ceases to be anything but a pet.

  2. TimothyB,

    I agree. It’s wild wolves that matter. Though they could be as attentive to us as dogs, it is their wild nature that they choose not to be.

    It’s being ignored by a wild animal that infuriates some people.

  3. JB says:

    “It’s being ignored by a wild animal that infuriates some people.”

    As an occasional wildlife photographer, being “ignored” is exactly what we hope for…it allows you to capture animal behavior (in the best case scenario) without affecting it!

  4. Barb says:

    The Denver Zoo has “wolves” but they might as well be domesticated dogs that haven’t been housebroken yet. They share hardly any of the characteristics of their wild brothers except for staying close to the pack.

  5. Fenriswolfr says:

    Perhaps most people have lost their connection to communicate with these wild animals, since the domestication of humans..

  6. In retrospect, what I would have been more accurate to say is the many people don’t like animals that ignore us in the sense that they neither come up to us purring or waging their tail, or fleeing in alarm.

    Many humans want to be shown obvious love or fear.


September 2008


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey