Updated: Dec 14, 2021
— New York, NY
Throughout history, dogs have been remembered for their loyal and hardworking nature. However, dogs have played a separate but equally important role in science as well. Dogs have helped human scientists in making discoveries, working on important research, and even finding new scientific artifacts.
The Lascaux cave in South France has over 600 detailed and well-preserved prehistoric artworks, but they would be hidden from the public eye if not for Robot. In 1940, Marcel Ravidat was walking Robot when Robot slipped down a foxhole. Robot began barking and when Marcel came to investigate, he found that Robot had made one of the biggest archaeological discoveries of the 20th century.
Dogs have even helped study the brain activity of humans. Chaser was a Border Collie who learned over 1,022 proper nouns and had the largest word memory ever tested in a non-human animal. Her understanding of behavioral speech and language provided valuable insight into various areas such as long-term memory and animal cognitive ability.
Naki’o was abandoned as a puppy and lost all four limbs to frostbite in Nebraska. He was found in an icy cellar and taken to a rescue center where vet assistant Christie Pace helped to get him fitted with four prosthetic limbs. The company OrthoPet designed artificial limbs for Naki’o that mimic the muscle and bone of dog limbs and allow him to run and play fetch. Animal prosthetics like Naki’o’s have helped to expand veterinary medicine and improve prosthetic development as a whole!
Dogs’ contributions to science have been invaluable to the scientific community. It may seem like dogs are just a loveable household pet, but dogs’ enthusiasm, curiosity, and joy have been a huge help to scientists around the world in unexpected ways. Without dogs, we may not have some of the advanced knowledge and technology that we take for granted today.
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