there are the cute, endearing, frightening, surprising … the animals are scrutinized from every angle, but rarely when it comes to their intelligence. The issue, very controversial, is particularly whether the size of brains among our friends the animals affects their mental faculties. Clearly, it would be a smart mouse less than an elephant because it is much smaller?
► Which in a study published in December, researchers from the University of Wyoming in the United States made a test of 39 carnivore species in nine zoos. They presented a puzzle (modest) for each animal: open a can in 30 minutes to reach its food. Their conclusion. “The species with larger brains relative to their body size were more effective than others”
In total, only 35% of the animals tested were able to resolve their “puzzle” explains the website EurekAlert. And the winners are … the experience of the bears, with 70% success. Bottom of the rankings, researchers found meerkats and mongooses, which failed only once to open their box. If the relative brain size determines the trick visibly animals, scientists have found, however, that large animals were less resourceful than their smaller counterparts. They add that the manual dexterity has no influence on this test.
Going further (the study was made only on mammals) among the animals whose headache is relatively large compared to their size and, therefore, would be more clever, there are sharks, dolphins, but also parakeets or parrots, recalls Sciences et Avenir . With more modest brains, quail, hedgehog or domestic fowl would be less spoiled. The researchers also emphasize the importance of the environment in the animal. The members of large groups (elephants, for example) proved generally more talented than solitary animals, they say.
The sagacity of the animals would be partly a matter of brain size. But this size should be relative to the body of the beast. The sperm whale has the largest brain of the animal kingdom (7.8 kg for a weight of 15,000 kg), will be less than clever dolphin (a brain 1.7 kg for a maximum weight of 150 kg). And the report also called coefficient of encephalization, could end decades of debate at home. In our pets, the dog (1.17) thus beat the cat (1.00), which itself would be smarter than mice (0.50).