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Are Baby Animals Intelligent?

The Happy Egg Co. wants you to know that chickens aren't dumb. In a study commissioned by the company and conducted by University of Bristol researchers in 2013, the results put forth the notion that, in some ways, baby chicks are far more advanced than human newborns. According to the researchers, the experiments show that newly-hatched chicks are able to exhibit a degree of self-control, have a basic understanding of numeracy (essentially, the idea that more is better than less), and grasp the concept that out of sight does not mean out of mind -- abilities that babies don't usually exhibit until they're at least one year old.

Something to cluck about:

  • In one test, 93 percent of the chicks discovered that they would get more food the longer they waited for it. This sort of self-control, the researchers said, doesn’t occur to humans until age four.
  • Other tests showed that the chicks understood the concept of numbers, preferring larger groups of plastic eggs to smaller ones. They also demonstrated the ability to keep track of objects even when they fall out of sight.
  • “The study shows that chickens have the capacity to master skills and develop abilities that a human child can take months and years to accomplish," said the study's lead researcher.
Discussion Comments
By dimchild — On Oct 31, 2019

Truly interesting indeed.

By anon1002331 — On Oct 31, 2019

That's a rather meaningless comparison -- hatchlings of ground dwelling birds versus human newborns. Wild turkey hatchlings are much more capable and develop sooner than chicken hatchlings. If you want a more valid example, compare the hatchlings of tree nesting birds with human newborns.

If you want a similar example: do you know that boats are much more capable of dealing with rivers and lakes than cars are?

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