Puppy Eyes Are a Product of Evolution

Everyone knows the look—a little sad, a little inquisitive, raised eyebrows. It makes your heart melt and makes you feel guilty for consuming deli meats in front of them. Now, scientists have a term for it: “AU101: inner eyebrow raise.”

A team of evolutionary psychologists and anatomists reported that dogs tend to make this face much more often and intensely than wolves. They even have a specific facial muscle that helps raise their adorable little eyebrows.

The muscle, called the levator anguli oculi medialis, is specifically meant to appeal to humans. Science is helping to solve the mystery of why this look tugs at the heartstrings. “I think the study is compelling,” said Clive Wynne, a psychologist at Arizona State University and head of the Canine Science Collaboratory. “[It’s] another piece of the puzzle of what connects dogs to people.”

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