Body Language

This topic contains 3 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  PopeBeanie 2 years, 11 months ago.

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    I thought I posted this story before, but can’t find it, so here it is again.

    (I want to emphasize here the importance of our comprehension of body language, especially wrt facial expression/communication. This topic is relvant to theory of mind, and therefore consciousness.)

    • This topic was modified 2 years, 11 months ago by  PopeBeanie. Reason: added "importance of body language" paragraph

    Simon Paynton

    Dogs are cooperative breeders like humans are.  So, a human baby will look around at all the people in the vicinity, as if soliciting care, and is normally cared for by multiple people.  In contrast, an ape or monkey baby clings tight to its mother for the first six months or so of its life.



    When tragedy strikes a family of dogs…do you think the other dogs offer their “thoughts and prayers”?



    The bulk of any language evolves and operates, if not on a full two-way street, at least with a transmitter and a comprehending receiver, e.g. in the case of a poisonous plant or animal advertising itself in a colorfully visual way and a predator’s evolved behavior to ignore it and/or keep its distance.  Or when two furry animals fluff up to appear more physically dominant. In the latter case, with larger brained animals, I’ll go out on a limb and say they’re both aware of their feelings in the situation, even if their lower level brain parts are running the body’s physiology, prepping for further action, fight or flight.

    Of course colors and shapes can also advertise mating information per a species, or (say) for flowers to attract insects. And pheromonal comms are another story.

    The traditional anthropocentric view that we humans are so especially apart from other animals has kept us–YECs especially but even most scientists–from pursuing the idea that most if not all of our visceral feelings, complex emotions and behaviors evolved from earlier-formed neuro-physiology.

    Body language in dogs is an interesting case because they evolved symbiotically with humans, and were eventually bred just for characteristics in appearance and behavior. So for tens of thousands of years, we greatly affected each other’s evolution. (Cat lovers, admit it!)

    So I think of dogs as a kind of intermediate indicator of “naturally originated” body language. Consider the article (above) on evolved canine eyebrow muscles, and the dog body language chart, below:

    depictions of various dog body language

    Click here for a more readable, full size chart.

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