Animals, sensitive and intelligent beings!

Birds, fish, mammals … are endowed with remarkable intelligence. World Animal Intelligence Day is an opportunity for to remember these often surprising cognitive abilities.

Memory, sense of orientation, facial recognition … The animals’ cognitive abilities are numerous and vary according to species. Overview!

Chickens, parrots, pigeons …

Chickens are endowed with great intelligence, even after spending a lifetime in cages … This is evidenced by the incredible adaptability of “used poultry” intended for the slaughterhouse and adopted by individuals. Among adopters or volunteers from the association “Champs libres aux poules” gallinaceae knock with their beaks on the window to make themselves heard, quietly waiting for their snack every day at the same time, or get depressed after the death of a family. ” Chickens raised in cages have been deprived of everything. And yet, when we take them out, it only takes a few seconds for them to dig into the grass and regain their instincts.wonders Heidi Carneau, the association’s founder. After two to three days, they have the same behavior as the others “. A fascinating robustness for these animals, which have known only an enclosed environment.

Other birds have remarkable intelligence. Thanks to their “internal compass”, their sense of smell and their visual cues, pigeons can easily find their way around space. Thanks to painless scientific studies, it has been proven that their mental agility allows them to perform multiple tasks simultaneously, but also to sort sets in ascending order or even to order lots of geometric shapes. Even more incredible: pigeons are physiognomies: they know how to distinguish hostile humans from benevolent ones!

Not forgetting psittacidae (parakeets, parrots, dwarf parrots …) whose intelligence is well known. Unfortunately, they are also coveted “pets” and carry so much the worse the captivity that is imposed on them. For the more species are endowed with high cognitive abilities, the more difficult it is for them to tolerate life between four walls (Proceedings of the Royal Society). A nuisance that unfortunately affects every other parrot …

Fish, squid, sharks …

” That fish are endowed with complex cognitive abilities says Violaine Colson, research engineer at the Fish Physiology and Genomics Laboratory of INRAE ​​(National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment). Recently, researchers from Ben Gurion University in Israel have proven the fish’s ability to navigate and navigate a terrestrial environment, quite different from their own (Behavioral brain research)! In addition, there are other amazing abilities such as social learning, memorizing positive or unpleasant events, but also recognizing congeners or even adapting to new situations.

That fish are endowed with complex cognitive abilities

V. Colson – Research Engineer (INRA)

Among marine animals, there is one that stands out for its 9 brains and 500 million neurons … The Octopus! These neurons are distributed in a network of ganglia, with a central brain and 8 smaller ones embedded in its arms. ” This arrangement allows them to perform tasks with their arms faster and more efficiently.explains Jon Ablett, curator at the Natural History Museum in London (Science and the Future). In addition, while each arm is able to act independently – able to taste, touch and move – the centralized brain is also able to exercise top-down control. on peripheral brains.

Sharks also have amazing abilities. Among them: “electro-reception”, which allows them to perceive the surrounding electric fields. This “sixth sense” helps them find food, even when the usual five senses are useless. An advantage to spot prey, even in total darkness!

Pigs, raccoons, giraffes …

Pigs are playful and loving. © DR

Playful, loving, pigs are also very intelligent! They benefit from an excellent memory, which allows them to remember congeners or humans, even in the long run. They know how to associate our gestures with ideas and can thus respond to our indications, such as dolphins and great apes. Pigs would even be better than dogs at manipulating a joystick, via their snout, to hit a target on the screen! ” When we see pigs behaving like dogs in families and we become aware of their intelligence and their sensitivity, these images of trapped and injured pigs are all the more unbearable.regrets Reha Hutin, President of the 30 Million Friends Foundation. Nothing can justify this barbarism It is not surprising that 85% of French people want intensive farming to be banned (Barometer Foundation 30 Million Friends / Ifop, 2022), which nevertheless concerns 95% of the pigs raised in our country.

For its part, the raccoon is also a victim of human cruelty: it is non-endemic, it is one of the “invasive alien species” that gave it the classification “probably causing harm” and actually caught all year round and anywhere. However, these creatures, adorable and endearing, are endowed with a surprising intelligence! ” Raccoons have been shown to be able to unlock intricate locks and even throw pebbles into a container to raise the water level and reach food floating on the surfaceinforms animal photographer Thomas Prat, who has immortalized many animals of the species. Nothing particularly surprising in the end, as the density of neurons present in the raccoon’s cerebral cortex could be compared to that of certain primates! »

Giraffes weave complex social bonds. © Wolfgang Hasselmann / Unsplash

Last example and not least if we stick to its size … the giraffe! Endangered, the species could see its chances of survival increased thanks to the solidarity of its individuals. For according to an English study published in August 2021, giraffes – mainly females – weave complex social bonds, such as elephants, primates and whales (Mammal Review)! “Giraffe ‘grandmothers’ probably play an important role in the survival of the members of the group with which they are related.says Zoe Muller, biologist and co-author of the study, interviewed by CNN. Grandmothers are more likely to be a source of knowledge for the group while participating in the care of young people “.

If these illustrations are far from exhaustive, they at least have the benefit of remembering the intelligence of our 30 million friends – sometimes misunderstood, often underestimated!

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