Are the least social animals the most innovative?
about the episode
In order to survive, finding innovative solutions to the problems of both humans and animals is of great importance. But what makes one animal more innovative than another?
Researchers at the University of Barcelona attempted to find the answer within a subgroup of ungulates. One includes animals that walk on their toes or the tip of their hooves, such as camels, horses, and goats.
Findings on monkey species can already be found in the literature. They show that less social animals have less access to food, but these individuals get over their fear of new things faster when they try to find a solution than their social counterparts.
Would this be the same with ungulates? An experiment on one hundred and eleven non-wild animals had to prove it. Share 13 species. Each of them had to open the lid of a cup unknown to them to get to their favorite foods.
Then, their problem-solving ability was compared against preselected factors such as fear of new things, social role in the group, and food preference. This allowed them to see that the animals who were less comfortable in the group and the animals who were less afraid of new things were the best at opening the cup.
Among all kinds of animals, it was the camel and the goat that enthusiastically set to work on the puzzle. According to the researchers, we need to do more of this kind of research on the cognitive ability of other species, and these types of animals have been unfairly underestimated for far too long. In the meantime, I’m curious as to whether the less social people have the best puzzle skills.
Read more about research here: Are the least social animals the most innovative?
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