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Scientists Are Developing An IQ Test For Dogs

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Soon you’ll be able to find out if your beloved pup is a canine Einstein. Researchers at the London School of Economics and Political Science and the University of Edinburgh are working on a general intelligence test for dogs. Like the human IQ test, the exam will pose a series of challenges designed to measure canine problem-solving abilities.

For a study, published in the journal Intelligenceresearchers administered a prototype IQ test to 68 working border collies. The exam took less than an hour and was comprised of three cognitive tasks: a navigational challenge in which the collies found food behind barriers, a challenge in which they judged different quantities of food, and a test to see how well they could follow a human pointing to an object.

The researchers found that the dogs that excelled in one area tended to excel in all three. Though more research is needed, they believe that these findings imply dogs may have measurable “general intelligence,” in the same way humans do. That is, like humans, dogs seem to “perform comparably across different types of cognitive tasks.”

Researchers believe their research may aid in the study of both canine cognition and human health. “Dogs are one of the few animals that reproduce many of the key features of dementia, so understanding their cognitive abilities could be valuable in helping us to understand the causes this disorder in humans and possibly test treatments for it,” LSE research associate Rosalind Arden explained. Arden also hopes to find links between canine intelligence, physical health, and lifespan—a connection that has been noted in humans, but has been difficult to study.

Dogs aren’t the only animals whose cognitive abilities could shed light on human issues, but they may be the most enthusiastic test subjects. Arden explained, “Dogs are excellent for this kind of work because they are willing to participate and seem to enjoy taking part."

[h/t Science Daily]

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Animals
Why Male Hyenas Have It Worse Than Females
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A life of hunting zebras and raising young on the savanna isn’t half bad for a female hyena. Sadly, the same can’t be said for their male counterparts. As MinuteEarth explains, things take a downturn for the males of the species once they hit adolescence. No female in their pack will mate with them, a behavior scientists believe evolved to avoid inbreeding, so they head off in search of a different group to join. After dealing with vicious hazing from their new clan, they file in at the bottom of the rank and wait for other males above them to die so that they can slowly gain status.

Even after rising through the hierarchy, the most a male hyena can aspire to is being second place to the lowest-ranking female. Thanks to their bulky build and aggressive behavior, female hyenas enjoy a dominant position that’s rare in the animal kingdom.

After watching the video below, head over here for more facts about hyenas.

[h/t MinuteEarth]

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Art
A Beached Whale Sculpture Popped Up on the Banks of Paris's Seine River
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In Paris, dozens of fish varieties live in the Seine River. Now, the Associated Press reports that the famous waterway is home to a beached whale.

Rest assured, eco-warriors: The sperm whale is actually a lifelike sculpture, installed on an embankment next to Notre Dame Cathedral by Belgian artists’ collective Captain Boomer. It’s meant to raise environmental awareness, and evoke "the child in everyone who still is puzzled about what is real and what is not,” collective member Bart Van Peel told the Associated Press.

The 65-foot sculpture has reportedly startled and confused many Parisians, thanks in part to a team of fake scientists deployed to “survey” the whale. One collective member even posted a video on social media, warning Parisians that there “may be others in the water” if they opt to take a dip in the river, The Local reported.

The whale sculpture is only temporary—but as for Captain Boomer, this isn’t their first whale-related stunt. Last summer, the collective installed a similar riverside artwork in Rennes, France, and they also once strapped a large-scale whale sculpture to the back of a truck and drove it around France.

[h/t Associated Press]

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