Chimpanzees share many genes with humans, but dogs have lived among humans for so long and undergone so much domestication that they are now serving as a model for understanding human social behavior.
Cooperation, attachment to people, understanding human verbal and non-verbal communications, and the ability to imitate are just a handful of the social behaviors people share with dogs. Dogs might even think like us at times. It is possible that dogs and humans adapting to the same living conditions during this period may have resulted in the similarities.
A new paper argues that dogs should serve as the "new chimpanzees" in comparative studies designed to shed light on human uniqueness.
Multiple studies support the notion that dogs exhibit all three primary types of social behavior that chimpanzees do -- "sociality," or organization into groups where members are loyal to each other, “synchronization”, where following shared social rules helps to strengthen group unity, and "constructive activity," where individuals within a group cooperate to achieve goals.
MSNBC March 26, 2009http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29895614/