Just Stubborn?
November 21, 2011 1:55 AM   Subscribe

Looking for online scientific studies relating to the intelligence level of mules.

My Google searches turn up lots of handlers and animal-raisers who say that "mules are smart"; some describe mule qualities (sociability, not a 'flight' animal, smarter than horses, etc.). But what I'm looking for is more concrete data or descriptions of mule intelligence. Has testing been done on these animals? Exactly how are they intelligent? I'm not a scientist, so the sources should be accessible to a layperson. Bonus points if you can link me to similar info about pigs. Thanks Hive Mind!
posted by Paris Elk to Pets & Animals (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A few years ago I watched a story on World News Tonight about farm animals and intelligence, and they definitely mentioned pigs... maybe you can find the video or something? Anyway, the Babraham Institute in Cambridge is mentioned in the story as having done the studies- perhaps contact them? Here's the only link to the story I could find:

posted by misspony at 4:10 AM on November 21, 2011

Pigs and Mirrors: The fact that pigs can learn to use a mirror means they are capable of a type of awareness called assessment awareness, which means they can understand the significance of a situation in relation to themselves, over a short period of time.

Pig Video Arcades Critique Life in the Pen: The animals' skills show that, at least in some respects, pigs could be as smart as chimpanzees and other nonhuman primates, says Stanley Curtis, a professor of animal sciences at Pennsylvania State University.
posted by davar at 4:49 AM on November 21, 2011

Reference 8 from WikiPedia goes to this. There's a summary here, if you can track it down:

Mules are not dumb-asses
The New Scientist, Volume 199, Issue 2667, 30 July 2008, Page 19

It's a story about some research done by Leanne Proops at the University of Sussex in Brighton, UK. She tested Horses, Mules, and Donkeys by showing them two buckets, with two symbols on each. The mules figured out which combo of symbols led to a bucket with food in it more than the others. Six of each animal was tested.
posted by jwells at 6:44 AM on November 21, 2011

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