Pigs Just As Smart As Dogs and Chimps, Study Suggests

In a study by The Farm Sanctuary, IQ tests suggest that pigs are as highly intelligent as chimps, dogs and other animals.

by Dani Yokhna

Pigs Are Just As Smart As Dogs and Chimps, Study Suggests - Photo courtesy iStock/Thinkstock (HobbyFarms.com)

The International Journal of Comparative Psychology recently published a paper of research into the intelligence of pigs. The research claims that pigs are often smarter than dogs and have about the same intelligence as chimpanzees, Discovery News reports.

“We have shown that pigs share a number of cognitive capacities with other highly intelligent species such as dogs, chimpanzees, elephants, dolphins, and even humans,” neuroscientist Lori Marino of Emory University and The Nonhuman Rights Project said in a press release, according to Discovery News. “There is good scientific evidence to suggest we need to rethink our overall relationship to them.”

Marino compiled the information with her co-author of the paper, Christina Colvin, visiting assistant professor at Emory. The pair reviewed myriad studies that were conducted on pigs and other animals. Through that research, they discovered that pigs:

have excellent long-term memories

  • are whizzes with mazes and other tests for locating objects
  • can comprehend a simple symbolic language
  • can learn complex combinations of symbols for actions and objects
  • love to play and engage in mock fighting with each other
  • live in complex social communities, where they keep track of individuals and learn from one another
  • cooperate with one another
  • can manipulate a joystick to move an on-screen cursor
  • can use a mirror to find hidden food
  • exhibit a form of empathy when witnessing the same emotion in another individual

The goal of their research is to show food animals in a different light. The pair plans to study cows and goats next. The research was funded with grant money provided by Farm Sanctuary’s The Someone Project to “raise the public’s understanding of farm animal intelligence and behavior.”

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