The puppy eyes made by your dog always make you go Awww. Now a study by Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) says that it is real.
The report titled ‘Evolution of facial muscle anatomy in dogs’ has found that dogs have evolved muscles around their eyes to mimic an ‘infant-like’ expression which triggers a “nurturing response in humans”.
The study further notes that domestication of wolfs into dogs took over 33,000 years. During this time, their behaviour and anatomy underwent a series of changes which allows dogs to create what the researchers call “expressive eyebrows” and to “create the illusion of human-like communication”.
“When dogs make the movement, it seems to elicit a strong desire in humans to look after them,” Dr. Juliane Kaminski, who co-authored the study, told BBC.
According to The Guardian, for investigating the matter, the researchers dissected the heads of four wolves and six dogs, all of which they acquired after deaths, and in as might be expected from animals so closely related, all the musculature was exactly alike except for the levator muscle, which none of the wolves had.
This muscle that runs around the eyes makes them appear bigger making the dogs appear human-like.