Dogs are self-aware, according to a recent study.
Publishing in the journal Ethology, Ecology and Evolution, researcher Roberto Cazzolla Gatti noted the existence of self-awareness in man's best friend based on a smell test.
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Gatti's experiment incorporated four stray dogs and their urine. Samples were taken of each and the dogs were individually given an opportunity to smell as they pleased for five minutes.
According to a press release, "The result was surprising: all dogs devoted more time to smell the urine samples of the others rather than their own, and this behavior confirmed the hypothesis that dogs seem to know their own smell exactly, they are less interested in their own, and they are therefore self-aware."
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The urine-sniffing test is Gatti's version of the "mirror test" — the traditional method whereby self-awareness has been tested for in the past.
Gatti explained, "The ability to recognize their own image in the mirror is a skill extremely rare in the animal kingdom .... A wide range of species has been observed to fail the test, including several species of monkeys, giant pandas, sea lions, birds, and dogs."
Thus, the study team claims the failure of dogs taking the so-called "mirror test" over the years hasn't really been a failure of dogs at all, but instead the method itself.
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