We all know that pigs are highly intelligent creatures. That’s not news. It is really curious how these creatures are taking advantage of such intellectual capacity.
Do you want to know what was the last one? According to a recent study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, a group of scientists recently discovered that these animals are extremely skilled players.
The document that highlighted the news in the media of several countries is nothing more than the culmination of extensive research on swine intelligence, which, according to the news portal Huffpost, began in the 1990s, under the development of studies of scientists who worked with Stanley Curtis, a “legendary pig researcher” who died in 2010.
Yes, legendary. There is no other word to define Curtis. The researcher, after all, was co-author of Candace Croney, director of the Animal Welfare Science Center at Purdue University.
To find out whether the pigs were skilled players or not, the group of scientists involved in the study put 2 Yorkshire pigs – called Hamlet and Omelet – plus 2 Panepinto micro pigs – named Ebony and Ivory – to operate a joystick (a kind of remote control of a rudimentary video game).
The task was originally used to test chimpanzees and Rhesus monkeys, but pigs, it seems, also demonstrated exemplary performance, because, interestingly, the animals, which are kept at Pennsylvania State University, United States, learned, and fast, manipulating the joystick.
Whenever they moved the control correctly and overcame the challenges imposed by the researchers, the pigs were given treats. Obviously, one of the animals stood out more than the others, but everyone’s performance varied in activities with higher levels of difficulty.
Of all, the pig Ivory was the one who was most smart. The mini pig overcame 76% of the challenges. The pigs Hamlet and Omelette, unfortunately, had to retire after 12 weeks of study because they grew more than expected.
According to the article published by Frontiers in Psychology, pigs just did not perform as well as chimpanzees and Rhesus monkeys because they had to move the joystick with their snout.
After conducting analyzes of all activities, the researchers concluded that the “study result may influence future research on the cognitive abilities of pigs and other domestic species that may benefit from the use of touch screens or other advanced computer interface technology. ”.
Although teaching pigs to play may seem like an unusual effort, in a press release the researchers stressed the importance of the study in reporting how it is possible to interact with these animals.
The document also reveals that “we have an ethical obligation to understand how pigs absorb information and how it shows they are able to learn”.
“We could teach them how to manipulate the joystick and how to look at the screen, but we let them find out independently, just so they could maintain a connection to the task.”
“The animal either finds out about it or not. And that is exactly what shows how pigs are intelligent ”.