Photo: Helgi Halldórsson
With intriguing descriptions of the abilities of pigs, a new white paper concludes that “pigs are not very different from the dogs and cats we share our homes with. They may even be not very different from ourselves.”
Written by Kimmela Executive Director Lori Marino and Emory University Prof. Christina M. Colvin, the paper is entitled Thinking Pigs: Cognition, Emotion, and Personality – An Exploration of the Cognitive Complexity of Sus Domesticus, The Domestic Pig.
The authors conclude that pigs:
- have excellent long-term memories;
- have a sense of time, remember specific episodes in their past, and anticipate future events;
- are whizzes with mazes and other tests requiring location of desired objects;
- love to play and engage in mock fighting with each other, similar to play in dogs and other mammals;
- live in complex social communities where they keep track of other individuals, both pigs and humans, and learn from one another;
- cooperate with one another and show signs of Machiavellian intelligence such as perspective-taking and tactical deception;
- are emotional and exhibit empathy;
- have distinct personalities.
Dr. Marino explains that “[w]e have shown that pigs share a number of cognitive capacities with other highly intelligent species such as dogs, chimpanzees, elephants, dolphins, and even humans. There is good scientific evidence to suggest we need to rethink our overall relationship to them.”
Based on the authors’ review paper published in the International Journal of Comparative Psychology in 2015, this is the first white paper from The Someone Project. It is published by Farm Sanctuary and available here.
This article originally appeared on Kimmela.org.