Pigs

28.04.2015 |

Episode #4 of the course The Smartest Animals on Earth

A human brain is roughly 7.5 times larger than a pig’s, yet humans are always fascinated by the amount of intelligence that pigs show. Domesticated centuries ago and at home in many barnyards around the world, pigs demonstrate behaviors that can be measured on scales of social and problem-solving intelligence as close to that of a 3-year-old child.

A pig can use a mirror as a tool, for example, to see around objects while looking for food. However, researchers are not sure if pigs recognize themselves in the mirror, which would be another measure of intelligence. Some have even demonstrated complicated tasks that require multiple steps, such as moving a video controller joystick to control the actions on a screen.

Pigs are social animals that respond well to a number of verbal commands. Their sense of smell is so important to them that it can be like a learning disability if they are not able to smell correctly. Pigs also demonstrate amazing memories in that they can often learn new tricks, tasks, and commands on the first try.

However, their memories also seem to be somewhat inflexible, because if they learn something wrong they are unlikely to forget that first experience and relearn. They can remember names, faces, and events long after their last exposure to them. A pig will also use its intelligence mischievously—one pig may follow another to learn where his food is kept, then lure the pig away from his food to steal it from him.


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