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Interactive video lesson plan for: 4 Food Animals Smarter Than Your Pet | What the Stuff?!

Activity overview:

Some animals that frequently appear on our dinner plates and in our delicacies are smart. Probably smarter than your pets. How smart? Lauren explains.

Article: http://animals.howstuffworks.com/animal-facts/5-food-animals-that-are-smarter-than-your-pet.htm

Music: “Innermission” by Airglow

Video Attribution:

Amazing octopus camouflage

Babe Movie CLIP - The Sheep Password (1995)

Camera falls from airplane and lands in pig pen

Cute Pig Playing Video Games

Flamboyant cuttlefish, Mimic octopus, Blue ringed octopus, Hairy octopus, White “V” octopus

Joe Pesci beats the shit outta some pigeons

Octopus steals my video camera and swims off with it

Pigeon outsmarts cat

Ryan Doyle - Mardin, Turkey Assassins Creed style

Sheep could use a throat lozenge

Sheep Protest

Virginia the Grumble Pig

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* How much do you think about how much your food thinks? Some animals that frequently appear on our dinner plates and in our delicacies are smart. Probably smarter than your pets. Maybe smarter than you?
* Like pigs. In the wild, pigs live in long-term, matriarchal social groups and can distinguish each individual pig they know. They can recognize individual humans, too. And in research labs, pigs have proved themselves to be quick on the uptake. A study from Cambridge showed that when given a mirror, pigs will investigate it and check themselves out in it, and can later remember how mirrors work well enough to use one to find food that’s otherwise hidden from their view. That shows impressive awareness and spatial recognition. And a study from Pennsylvania State University demonstrated that pigs can play simple videogames by gripping joysticks with their snouts – all with the same proficiency as chimpanzees and other non-human apes. Pigs can even be trained to herd groups of another very smart animal that we eat: sheep.
* Sheep show off their smarts way more as individuals than when they're following their flock. They can test as intelligent as rodents, monkeys, and - in some aspects - even humans. A sheep can recognize people, respond when you call its name, react to nuances of human facial expressions, and create a mental map of its surroundings. And you might wanna cut back on derogatory references like “sheeple”: They also show signs of being able to formulate plans.
* [Cephalopods:] Invertebrate sea creatures like octopuses, squid, and cuttlefish are difficult to compare to your Fido, Schnookems, or Colonel Flufferbutt because they evolved under such different circumstances. These cephalopods have both central and peripheral nervous systems: Their head brain works together with individual arm-and-tentacle brains, meaning each limb can act and react completely independently. But despite that, scientists can draw some comparisons to land mammals. For example, baby squid learn via trial and error, like baby humans do. And octopuses can take objects apart, navigate mazes, and play – which demonstrates imagination. Octopuses are considered to be one of the only group of creatures that’s self-aware, right up there with apes, dolphins, elephants, and crows. And speaking of our feathered friends:
* Pigeons! Also known to meat eaters as “squab,” and to New Yorkers as “rats with wings.” But pigeons are so smart that they can be taught abstract concepts about numbers. At a university in New Zealand, they learned to count shapes and rank groups of shapes according to the number of items each contained. In this task, they performed as well as rhesus monkeys. Beyond math, pigeons can recognize individual people who've been hostile toward them and avoid them in the future. They can also recognize _themselves_ in prerecorded videos.
* A footnote, here, both from me and from a bunch of the researchers I mentioned in this episode: None of this is meant to make you feel bad about eating meat if eating meat otherwise makes you feel happy and healthy. But when you can, support farms and programs that help give food animals a good quality of life.

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