General, Research, Technology

Norwegian scientists have taught horses to communicate with people

According to Applied Animal Behavior magazineScience, horses are actually much smarter than we thought, and able to communicate with people using symbols. This was recently found out by Norwegian scientists during a two-week series of experiments. During this time, animals learned to communicate their desires and needs to people using special cards.

As it turned out, horses can tie anyabstract symbol with real effect. As previously suggested, this skill is available only to dolphins, primates, parrots, and to a lesser extent dogs and cats. Scientific research was conducted by Dr. Cecilia Meidel together with colleagues from the Norwegian Veterinary Institute.

A control group was taken during the study.of 23 horses of different breeds and ages. Each of them biologists consistently showed three large cards. One was a vertical line, the other a horizontal line, and the third was not completely empty. Then the horses were taught to make the right choice between the three cards. They had to choose the card that would indicate whether there was a blanket on them (blanket is a special cover that covers the back and torso), and after 14 days all the horses learned to distinguish the cards. But the experiment did not end there, otherwise it would be a simple training: subsequently the animals were given a free choice of the same three cards, and it turned out that in warm and sunny weather horses chose cards that would allow them to remain without blankets. They asked to drop it or leave it as is, if there was no cover. In the cold, animals, on the contrary, asked what blankets should be worn, and they began to ask more persistently if the request was fulfilled with a long delay.

At the moment, researchers continuestudies to determine whether such behavior of horses is related to their domestication or wild horses are also able to establish contact with humans. It is known that goats after taming have learned to ask people for help, but their wild brethren do not show such behavior even in case of danger.