Functionally analogous body- and animacy-responsive areas are present in the dog (Canis familiaris) and human occipito-temporal lobe

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Comparing the neural correlates of socio-cognitive skills across species provides insights into the evolution of the social brain and has revealed face- and body-sensitive regions in the primate temporal lobe. Although from a different lineage, dogs share convergent visuo-cognitive skills with humans and a temporal lobe which evolved independently in carnivorans. We investigated the neural correlates of face and body perception in dogs ( N  = 15) and humans ( N  = 40) using functional MRI. Combining univariate and multivariate analysis approaches, we found functionally analogous occipito-temporal regions involved in the perception of animate entities and bodies in both species and face-sensitive regions in humans. Though unpredicted, we also observed neural representations of faces compared to inanimate objects, and dog compared to human bodies in dog olfactory regions. These findings shed light on the evolutionary foundations of human and dog social cognition and the predominant role of the temporal lobe.

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