KSC - Animal Smarts - Successful: The Pulse of the Planet daily radio program offers free legal online mp3 downloads, exploring the world of sound in nature, culture and science, with audio adventures, world music, extraordinary sound portraits, science diaries, and nature ring-tones; an amazing sonic experience.

Airdate: Jan 11, 2012
Scientist: Brian Hare

KSC - Animal Smarts - Successful

KSC - Animal Smarts - Successful
How have dogs have managed to "nose" their way into the lives of humans around the world?

KSC - Animal Smarts - Successful

Music; Ambiance: DOGS Sounds of animals

BH: "The definition of smart from an evolutionary perspective is dude, there's a lot of you and you're everywhere. So, by definition you're smart. The question is not whether you're smart but what is it about how you solve problems that allowed you to do that."

JM: Of all the large mammals in the world besides humans, which would you think is the most successful the best problem solver? I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

BH: "Think of an elephant or a tiger or a lion, a dog a cat - these are all mammals. If you think of them, what's the animal you see most?"

JM: Brian Hare is an evolutionary anthropologist at Duke University.

BH: "You don't find tigers. You don't find bears. You don't find wolves. The animal that you find everywhere is the dog. You see dogs. What we're interested in is why is it that dogs are everywhere???! They are the most successful animal besides humans. We start by thinking, given that they're everywhere they must be really smart! The question is how do they do it? What was it that allowed them to be buddies with us and go everywhere. Unlike wolves and tigers and all these other animals, why is it that dogs are so successful. What we've discovered is dogs are really, really good at understanding what we're thinking and what we want and what we don't want. And they're good at using us like a tool and when they need something they can communicate that to us. And they really enjoy doing things together with humans. And so that may be the secret to their success. They have found a way to live together with humans and basically have us treat them like we would a small child."

JM: We'll hear more about the intelligence of man's best friend in future programs. Brian Hare is one of the participants in the Kids' Science Challenge, our free nationwide competition for third to sixth graders. Check out kidsciencechallenge.com. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by The National Science Foundation.