Jonah Goldberg at NRO brought this WaPo story on dogs to my attention. It is worth reading, and not only because it is a report based on the research of some Hungarian scientists(!) as reported in a recent issue of Current Biology (available on line only to subscribers), but because there is something to it. Here is the start of the article: "As any poodle, spaniel or mutt owner knows, dogs have an uncanny ability to read human body language, whether it’s following a finger pointing the way to an errant tennis ball or spotting a glance that signals an imminent trip to the park.
But animal behavior experts have debated for years how much of this dogged perceptiveness is inborn and how much is learned by being raised around humans. New research, however, indicates that the capacity to communicate with humans silently through gestures and glances has become an inborn talent as a result of the thousands of years that dogs have lived, worked and played with people.
’They don’t speak like we do. But there is communication,’ said Adam Miklosi of Eotvos University in Budapest."