Mocking the World since 2003

Friday, June 11, 2004

Smart Dogs 

Researchers in Germany have found evidence that dogs really can understand what humans say. Researchers at the Max Plank Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology have concluded that Rico, a 9 year old border collie can identify his toys by name. If he is shown an object and told its name he can retrieve it from a pile of objects months later. Rico has learned the names of over 360 toys including "panda", "tiger", and "Santa Claus".

While this development has been lauded as a major discovery in the field of animal intelligence, dogs have been shown to understand commands before. US Army officers in Iraq have conducted their own studies and have shown that dogs can easily identify many objects by barking at them. So far the officials have taught their dogs to identify "hoods and capes" and "leashes and collars". Most amazingly the dogs consistently respond to the command "Violations of the Geneva Convention" by barking at groups of naked bruised Iraqi prisoners.

Rico the collie borders on brilliant, scientists say [USA Today]
Report: Use of Dogs at Iraq Prison Was Authorized [Reuters]

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