What is the origin of a dog's instinct to bury food?

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Trevor Tibbits

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Trevor Tibbits  asked the Naked Scientists:
Question: Why do dogs pretend to bury food, where is that behaviour stored?


It is well-known that dogs pretend to bury their food by using their snouts to push imaginary soil over tasty items they want to get to later. What useful purpose could this behaviour have apart from endearing them to their owners? As this is observed in many breeds it must be instinctual, so where, physiologically, is this behaviour stored in the brain? Could OCD in humans have a similar basis?

Thanks for your excellent podcasts!


Trev Tibbits

Perth, Western Australia

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 20/10/2010 10:30:03 by _system »


Offline HumanEnigma

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What is the origin of a dog's instinct to bury food?
« Reply #1 on: 06/11/2010 01:35:59 »
Thats hard to say. Dogs do not bury there food for the same reason that squirrels do or why bird make food caches. Dogs do bury food to hide it from others in the pack. So it's a selfish act of squandering food not caching to survive through the season.