Animal Intelligence

There currently seems to be a lot of interest in animal intelligence or consciousness.  Recently, a friend asked me which animal I thought was the smartest.  My first thought was primates and then possibly elephants —  but, since my only experience was with domestic animals, I opined that the pig was the smartest.

     I am not an expert on animal behavior nor to I know to scientifically rate their intelligence.  I’m sure there are many ways to do this. I suppose one could compare their activities  and reactions to humans. But, if we did that it would only be fair to examine   our 0wn ability  to function in a pig’s world

    Then too, we could rate animal intelligence on how well they integrated with their environment and society — finding food, reproduction, social structure etc.   But that has would be highly subjective.

    Their ability to communicate within their species, as well as with other species (including humans) would be an important factor. 

    Having said all that, I don’t know why I chose pigs.  Pigs have an undeserved reputation as being a dirty animal (mostly when raised in close confinement). Pigs do not sweat and a cool mud-bath on a warm day protects them from dehydration and sunburn. Pigs are cute, alert and exhibit many  many different personalities. I believe that a face-to-face, look-me-in-the-eye  involvement  with any animal will provide insights into an animal’s basic persona. Try it sometime.

    Going back to my choice of the pig as the most intelligent domestic animal, consider this. 

     Given the choice, most animals will select feedstuffs and minerals conducive to good health — but, given a choice, many humans will choose to eat junk food or Franken-food.

    Given the opportunity, a pig will usually not soil its sleeping or eating areas with feces — but, given the opportunity, humans poison their fields and food with toxic chemicals - all for the profit of BigPharma. 

It begs the question;  “Are humans as smart as pigs?.”