Can animal intelligence develop

14 surprisingly clever animals

In addition, there is our tendency to value those cognitive abilities that are similar to those of humans. “For example, many people say: I've heard that pigs are smart and sheep are stupid,” says Horback. “That's totally wrong.” Just like humans, pigs are opportunistic omnivores. They have developed the ability to remember where they found food and can deliberately deceive other pigs in order to keep their sources of food a secret, explains Horback.

Sheep, on the other hand, are grazing animals. They have different abilities and can, for example, perceive the subtle movements of the herd. "You don't need to navigate complex food mazes or deceive conspecifics to keep them away from the food source," says Horback. "It just doesn't make sense for sheep to have that particular cognitive ability."

Cognitive skills are earmarked

Each species is adapted to its own habitat. Animals usually have exactly the skills they need to survive. “There are species that simply don't have to solve complex problems or use tools,” says Horback. “In terms of animal survival, it would be wasteful” to have more cognitive skills than necessary.

“Barnacles don't move. Their food comes to them, ”says Wasserman. "Why should they be so busy learning or thinking about things?"