Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Why Dogs Bury Bones

Dr. Jon enlightened me today with an article explaining why dogs bury bones.
Do you know why?

Although dogs have been around for millions of years, they have only been domesticated for a few thousand years, and they spent a lot of time developing behaviors that helped them to survive. Burying bones is one of the behaviors that had to do with finding and maintaining an adequate food supply.

Dogs might sometimes kill a prey animal large enough to feed the entire pack,or other times when small prey animals were abundant, they might kill many of these bite-sized creatures. Dogs often found themselves with more food than they could eat at one time. They could never be sure when they would be able to find and kill another prey, so to be on the safe side, they carried the bones, which were filled with nutrient-rich marrow, back to their lair, and buried them nearby. When food was scarce, they could always rely on the bones to keep them fed.

This process is called caching or hoarding, and it is common among dogs, wolves and foxes. In fact, other animals practice a form of caching; squirrels gather enough nuts to last through the winter, and camels store enough food and water to last for several days in the desert. Our domesticated dogs may have their food handed to them each day in sufficient quantities, but they still carry this caching trait and bury their bones or toys in the back yard or under a pillow.

No comments:

Post a Comment