Researchers have identified an area of the dog brain dedicated to processing human faces

The dogs' ability to recognise and process human faces surpasses even that of monkeys. This newly-identified brain region may be the reason why.

If you want to know about the special relationship between human and canine you need only watch a dog owner slavishly feed, cuddle and clean up after her furry companion, day after day after day. But is this unique cross-species relationship also reflected at a deeper level, in the workings of the canine brain? A recent study in Learning and Behavior suggests so, finding that highly trained dogs have a dedicated neural area for processing human faces, separate from the area involved in processing the faces of other dogs.

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Dogs help humans with disabilities socialize with others, researchers find

Having a dog may be one way to curb lonelieness.

Photo credit: JULIAN STRATENSCHULTE/AFP/Getty Images
  • A pilot study has found that dogs help socialize those with intellectual disabilities at Australian group homes.
  • Previous research finds that pets helps those who use wheelchairs "feel more secure and confident in public."
  • People are far more likely to interact with someone with an intellectual disability if they were walking with a dog.
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Dogs Love to Play, but They Don’t Do so for Pleasure

Could it simply be pleasure for its own sake?

A dog performs tricks during a dog dance session at the pet fair in Berlin on November 2, 2012. Photo: ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images

A Jack Russell terrier tears in and out of its doggie door, skidding and sliding on a hardwood floor, only to repeat the performance over and over again. A Border collie in the park leaps to catch a ball, runs and drops it back at the owner’s feet with a look of anxious anticipation. There’s no food treat in store for these animals, no pats on the head – they seem to do it out of sheer playful exuberance. But what are they really up to? What does it mean for a dog to ‘play’?

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Who's smarter, cats or dogs? Science has found a clear winner.

The study also discovered a downside to having a big brain.

Credit: Getty Images.

Ever wonder about the intelligence of various animals and how they measure up? Researchers at Vanderbilt University decided to find out. Specifically, they chose a subsection of mammals called carnivorans. This group has 250 species, each with sharp teeth and claws, which allow them to hunt other animals.

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Massive New Study Shows How Dogs Boost Human Health

One type of dog in particular is linked with the lowest rates of cardiovascular disease in their human pals.

Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

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