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Dogs Smarter Than We Thought

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Or, if you're a dog person, you've known this all along.

A recent study has shown that dogs are able to do rudimentary math. In an experiement similar to one performed on monkeys, a dog was shown a pile of treats. Then a screen was lowered, obscuring the treats, and the treats were either left along, or a few were taken away. Then the screen was raised.

When a few treats were missing, the dogs stared at the treats for a few seconds longer than they did when the number of treats stayed the same, suggesting that they knew there were fewer treats.


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Well............ duh.

"New study shows that dogs have eyes."

Granted what we think is obvious isn't always true, and it's always good to double-check things with scientific studies............ but this is just kinda silly.

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I think you missed the point of the study. In experiments involving human babies and rhesus monkeys, the subjects were shown a number of objects they would be intersted in (toys for babies, apple slices for the monkeys.) In each case, the subject would stare longer at the objects if one was taken away, than if the number had stayed the same. They were able to tell that the number had changed. Not all animals exhibit this sort of "counting" skills.

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I wouldn't think this was a useful test unless they also changed the arrangement of the treats, even when they didn't take any away.

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Er, perhaps my post was misleading. I didn't mean to implicate that having eyes equals the ability to determine that less items are available. I should have said something like "new study indicates that fish swim."

While studies examining common assumptions can be illuminatory and useful - especially when they prove those assumptions wrong, or discover that there's more to them than common knowledge, this strikes me as one of those "duh, of course" and/or "you spent how much to figure THAT out?" moments.

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