'Puppy Dog Eyes' May Have Evolved Just to Make Humans Melt - And It's Working
You know how when your dog wants something, she makes that face? You know the one - all beseeching, with eyes that seem to positively quiver with longing? You'd give her anything, right?
It turns out that our response to canine looks of longing or love may be the very reason dogs can make them.
New research has found that the facial muscles involved in making these expressions can only be found in dogs, not wolves - suggesting our furry best friends evolved the ability specifically to communicate with humans.
"The findings suggest that expressive eyebrows in dogs may be a result of human unconscious preferences that influenced selection during domestication," said behavioural psychologist Juliane Kaminski of the University of Portsmouth.
"When dogs make the movement, it seems to elicit a strong desire in humans to look after them. This would give dogs that move their eyebrows more, a selection advantage over others and reinforce the 'puppy dog eyes' trait for future generations."
Previously, Kaminski and her team have demonstrated that dogs do actually make facial expressions as a means of communicating with humans, by studying their behaviour when a human was facing towards them, compared to facing away.
The team found that dogs used facial expressions far more when the human was looking at them.