Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

There is no human counterpart to some types of dog intelligence


When comparing dog breeds or dogs to wolves or chimpanzees, a lot depends on what we want to measure:

There are many stories of dogs finding their way home against difficult odds:

Researchers are only beginning to understand how sensing Earth’s magnetic field might play a role, as in a recent open access study:

“When called back to their owners, the dogs used two different methods for finding their way back from an average of 1.1 kilometers (about .7 miles) away. About 60 percent of the dogs used their noses to follow their outbound route in reverse, a strategy known as “tracking,” while the other 30 percent opted to use a new route, found through a process called “scouting.”

Data from the scouting dogs revealed that their navigation capability is related to a magnetic connection. All of the dogs who did not follow their outbound path began their return with a short “compass run,” a quick scan of about 20 meters along the Earth’s north-south geomagnetic axis, reports the Miami Herald’s Mitchell Willetts. Because they don’t have any familiar visual landmarks to use, and dense vegetation at the study sites made “visual piloting unreliable,” the compass run helps the dogs recalibrate their own position to better estimate their “homing” direction. – Courtney Sexton, “How Do Dogs Find Their Way Home? They Might Sense Earth’s Magnetic Field” at Smithsonian Magazine (July 27, 2020)”

What dogs really excel at is understanding humans. It’s the key to their well-being. Naturally, when they succeed, we think they are very clever. Are wolves more clever because they survive on their own? Well, they are more clever in certain ways, such as group co-operation and problem-solving, but not in understanding human communications. It really depends on what type of intelligence we want to measure.

Denyse O’Leary, “In what ways are dogs intelligent? ” at Mind Matters News

You may also enjoy:

Dogs are not as intelligent as seals? That doesn’t sound right to you? Putting aside the hoopla around IQ tests for furries and flipperies, there is a serious science question about what “intelligence” really is. (Denyse O’Leary)

Mirror, mirror, am I a self? Scientists ponder, how would animals show self-awareness? (Denyse O’Leary)


The real reason why only human beings speak. Language is a tool for abstract thinking — a necessary tool for abstraction — and humans are the only animals who think abstractly. (Michael Egnor)


Leave a Reply