Which Animals Are Smarter Than a Toddler? All Except Dogs, Says Science

Which Animals Are Smarter Than a Toddler? All Except Dogs, Says Science

It’s a dark day for dog lovers.

By Kristyn Pomranz

Dog lovers have long claimed that canines are more intelligent than cats, citing their proclivity for obedience and learning tricks. But the ability to learn is not the same as innate intelligence, and it turns out that dogs are waaay behind the curve.

Science has recently discovered that cats, wolves, monkeys, fish, frogs, and even chickens have mastered counting — but dogs have not. Womp womp.

Although domestic cats are difficult to work with in a controlled setting (surprise, surprise), the ones that participated in the study were able to distinguish large quantities of food from small ones based on the number of dots above the dish. And cats’ ability to count has been long corroborated by the fact that a mother cat will notice if a kitten goes missing and try to find it.

Wolves were tested directly against house dogs: Both animals watched different amounts of cheese being dropped into cans, and then were released to select the cans containing the most cheese. The wolves outsmarted their domesticated counterparts every time (and researchers maintain it’s not related to scent).

Monkeys understand the difference in numbers between one and five, and they’re able to identify counts up to nine. This didn’t surprise researchers, who have previously noted primates’ ability to solve simple mathematical issues. 

But here’s where things get weird: Even fish know how to count. In a 2011 study, 200 guppies had to decide, independently, which shoal to join, according to its size. (Large shoals are always preferable to fish.) And without fail, each guppy selected the larger shoal each time. Kiiinda making dogs look a little bit dumb RN, right?

Meanwhile frogs identify their species by number of pulses in their croak — all the way up to 10 notes. Females listen to the males’ croaks’ duration to decide if they’re worthy of mating. 

And chickens have unequivocally been proven to master arithmetic! A study (that we desperately wish we had been a part of) gave chickens two keys: one that gave a brief door to food, and one that gave longer access. The poultry pecked at the “long access” key every single time. And that old chestnut of chickens playing checkers? It’s legit: They can keep track of additions and subtractions when numbers are moved around.

Sorry to say that dogs come up short. It’s a good thing they’re cuter than all of the animals above combined! (Ssssss, burn.)

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