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Dogs Show Jealousy

Update Date: Jul 23, 2014 08:10 PM EDT

Dogs are jealous creatures, according to a new study. Scientists found that dogs are more likely to push and snap their owners when they show affection to other canines compared to other objects.

Scientists said this is surprising because jealousy is an emotion that requires complex cognition. However, researchers believe there may be a more basic form of jealously that evolved to maintain social bonds by protecting groups from interlopers.

The latest which was modified from a test used to evaluate jealousy in 6-month-old infants, involved 36 dogs who were individually tested and videotaped while their owners ignored them and interacted with a series of three different objects: realistic looking stuffed dog, a jack-o-lantern, and a book.

Christine Harris and her team from University of California, San Diego, found that the dogs showed significantly more jealous behaviors like snapping and getting between the owner and the object when their owners displayed affectionate behaviors towards what appeared to be another dog compared to the two nonsocial objects.

Researchers said that latest findings support the theory that jealousy in humans and other species evolved to protect relationships with limited resources like food, attention, care and affection.

"Many people have assumed that jealousy is a social construction of human beings--or that it's an emotion specifically tied to sexual and romantic relationships. Our results challenge these ideas, showing that animals besides ourselves display strong distress whenever a rival usurps a loved one's affection," Harris added,

The findings are published in the journal PLOS ONE

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