A Day in a Dog's Life

How a Darwinian perspective can assist us much better understand our ideal friends.

Posted January 10, 2019


This guest short article was composed mostly by SUNY New Paltz psychology student Angelina McDonald. Angelina is a senior and is presently matriculated in my class in Evolutionary Psychology.

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For my evolutionary psychology class, I"ve started assigning a "creative project." For this assignment, students are charged with developing some sort of artistic product (a song, a story, a video, a play, a paint, etc.) that explicates at least 10 specific concepts from the class. To help with the procedure, I produced this list of ideas from the class, Darwin"s Definitions, which has about 30 principles that are foundational in the area of evolutionary psychology.

Angelina submitted her artistic product this particular day. It is an analysis of a dog"s day from an evolutionary emotional perspective. I immediately assumed that it was brilliant. Find that story, in addition to a picture of Nala, the protagonist, listed below.


Hi, my name is Nala!

My niche is a nice open area in Greenville, NY. My humans moved us here a pair years back and I appreciate it a lot more because I currently have actually 23 acres to run and also play on. I love running approximately looking for all the different pets that have actually come right into the yard and finding all the playthings that I have buried. Thanktotally my genotype has given me the ability to have an remarkable feeling of smell. My huguy mommy also plays hide and seek through me. I’m constantly able to win the game and also discover her!

My ancestors came using Newfoundland and also were then transported to England. Many type of of my ancestors" owners stayed in cold and wet settings. They mainly provided my type to hunt, fish, and also gather the fishing rope from the water. Thus historical context, we occurred a fitness toward that particular setting. My hair phenotype arisen so that I have the right to stay warm in cold climates while also warding off water from my coat. This enables me to have resistance to the cold and water. Our sense of smell came in handy as soon as in search of prey. My birth paleas also aided their humans hunt. Due to the fact that many of my ancestors and household are fast and also have actually an excellent sense of smell, it’s no wonder I have the same abilities.

I spfinish many of my days hanging through my household. They are dogs, so they are conspecifics, however we all are different breeds. We have Hodor that is a pitbull, Gizmo that is a French bulldog, and also Luke and Leia, who are Rottweilers. Luke and Leia are siblings and also the newest members of our family members. Right currently, Leia and I are the just female dogs in the house. She’s still young so tright here isn’t any kind of intra-sexual competition. When we initially acquired Hodor, he and also Gizmo usage to obtain into fights eextremely time I remained in heat—without fail! It appeared that they were both fighting to see who would win and also then be able to recreate with me. Unfortunately, my humans obtained me addressed, so I won’t be reproducing. Boo!

Our life background strategy is quick compared to our human beings. Depending on your breed, you might just live to be 6 years old while others may live to be 15 years old. Either way, it’s not a long time. According to the parental investment theory, we are various compared to our human beings with regard to our investment in our offspring. The human beings are a part of an altricial species, which need a lot of parental investment. We dogs, on the various other hand also, are a component of a precocial species and also require very little bit parental investment. Don’t acquire me wrong, our mother took care of us. She rarely left us alone for the initially week and also was constantly accessible when we were hungry. Slowly though, she started leaving us for longer durations of time—always coming back when it was time to eat. I was lastly able to start trying out after about 3 weeks, and also once I was eight weeks old I got to meet my forever humans! My human beings have actually been taking care of me ever considering that, however I think I would execute alideal out on my very own bereason of exactly how quick I am and also my excellent feeling of smell.

It’s funny, evolutionary psychologists always talk around kin-schosen altruism, yet I never really taken the concept till I met Luke and Leia. Luke and Leia are brother and sister from the exact same litter and they hate being separated. When they initially gained to our home, I believed for certain that Luke would certainly try and also compete with Hodor for my attention, however he appears even more preoccupied through his sister and also via keeping her safe. Whenever before Leia is in a scary case or is nervous, he always pertains to her rescue. She’s gained out of the fence when or twice and Luke has actually constantly rushed earlier inside to obtain our human"s attention to go rescue her. It’s impressive to see just how protective he is of her and exactly how dedicated he is to making certain she is okay. I think this is because they share a high propercent of genes with one an additional and also she can assist their shared genes" reproductive success. It’s exciting to watch.

It was nice talking to you! My humans are calling us and desire us to go play. Time to put my speed to the test! Woof!!!


Glenn Geher, Ph.D.

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, is professor of psychology at the State College of New York at New Paltz. He is beginning director of the campus’ Evolutionary Studies (EvoS) regimen.