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And on a lighter note - Tactical Ninja

Feb. 11th, 2011

11:08 am - And on a lighter note

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I've been saying this for years, but it's nice to have validation. Also, it's a question people often ask me:

How smart are sheep? - An article about specific cognitive tests done on sheep and their surprising results.

The answer is smarter than most folks give them credit for - a summary of all sorts of interesting information about sheep behaviour.

In the first article up there, their intelligence is compared with that of monkeys and the sheep come out favourably. I keep saying, the number of times I've seen sheep get the better of people and people still think they're dumb - What does that say about people?

Comments:

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From:rivet
Date:February 10th, 2011 11:54 pm (UTC)
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That was surpisingly interesting, thank you!
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From:tatjna
Date:February 10th, 2011 11:55 pm (UTC)
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It's nice to know you're not the only person that thinks something's kinda cool, eh? ;-)
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:February 11th, 2011 12:22 am (UTC)
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Intelligence is an interesting thing in animals. To claim an animal is dumb is... well... quite dumb. Each species is optimised to it's niche, so in the context of flocks say, sheep are better at remembering faces than say a lone predator animal like a cat.

Even things like ant colonies are smart in their context. They could probably pick a better site for a new colony, and manage their resources (which ants are doing what), better than any human could.
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From:tatjna
Date:February 11th, 2011 12:29 am (UTC)
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This is one of the reasons I've always had trouble answering the question "How intelligent are sheep compared with... *insert other farm animal here*?" I usually end up answering "It's complex" because realistically, each type of animal is exactly as intelligent as that animal needs to be to survive being that animal. Which means cows are more intelligent at being cows and sheep are more intelligent at being sheep, and you really need a different point of reference to make a comparison. That's why I like that second link - it places everything in the context of what it is to be a sheep and changes the question to "Can sheep learn and how well?"

I'm really glad you understand that stuff. ;-)
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From:morbid_curious
Date:February 11th, 2011 03:00 am (UTC)
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Shared with my biologist/farm geek, thank you :-)
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From:stinkygoat
Date:February 11th, 2011 07:55 pm (UTC)
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I do think it's funny that people need scientific tests to prove what anybody who lives with sheep already knows as a matter of course. Sheep can remember people and other sheep? Sheep stick up for their mates? Sheep aren't daft when it comes to figuring out where the food is? These are just normal things you can see every day if you only take time to be with sheep :). I could write a book on the complexities and subtleties of sheep behaviours just from knowing my own flock. Maybe I should, one day :).
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From:tatjna
Date:February 11th, 2011 10:39 pm (UTC)
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I think you should!
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