Wolf puppies, like domesticated dogs, love to play fetch

A wolf puppy named Flea who participated in the study.

(CNN)When you play a game of fetch with your dog, they're picking up on a human social cue to retrieve the ball. Now, researchers have observed the same behavior in wolf puppies, meaning they also have the ability to understand human communication cues, according to a new study.

A dog's ability to play fetch and other activities with humans is a learned behavior that likely occurred over time after humans domesticated dogs from gray wolves 15,000 years ago. Researchers believe dogs only began to interpret cues from humans after domestication happened.
Modern dogs differ greatly from wolves not only physically and genetically, but behaviorally as well.
Researchers decided to test 13 wolf puppies born in three different litters. Their goal was to determine if wolf puppies exhibit the same behaviors as domesticated puppies, which would help them pinpoint the origin of the behaviors. Their study published Thursday in iScience, a Cell Press journal.