Eyes of the dingo provide insight into how dogs became our companions
I have a dog comparable to the Dingo - maybe even more closely related to the wolf: (American) Akita. (See also Spitz Breeds - this is my third Spitz in a row). He stubbornly pretends to be nonchalant and independent. (This characteristic in dogs and cats makes many conclude that these animals are not intelligent or feeling).
Over the years, it has been my great success to get my Akita to look in my eyes, more and more - to trust me. Now, if I ask him to look at me, he will. Or, if he has a question, he will. Of course, he will eye me to see if I am getting food ready for him or something. But, really, this is a very wild, strong dog who always assumes he is the alpha-male. We had to be equals, (within a chosen, limitted hierarchy), for him to trust me this much.
This was not easy to do, because his wildness and doggedness required so much discipline. It's like telling kids you are doing something for their own good - they don't HEAR that, they only know what they WANT. That is why it is not a good thing for parents to try to be best-buddies.
Well, this research showing graduated eye-trust from dogs, over millennia, does threaten a theory I never approved of: The theory that wolves/(dogs) first went hunting with humans, relying on being able to follow the whites of humans' eyes, in order to locate the prey. I have said before that humans had a better chance of looking to wolves'/(dogs') sense of smell, etc., so that THEY HUMANS could follow the prey. And, the role of shared psychic awareness is something that could have powerfully been at play, as well. I think that wolves/dogs knew that, once they tracked the prey for humans, then the weapons of humans did an awesome job of getting the meat to their dinner bowls.
If innitial wolves/(dogs) had an uncomfortable time looking at the eyes of humans, as suggested in this latest study, then the whole idea of them looking to the whites of human's eyes for hunting purposes pretty much falls flat.