Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Smart Asses!

Intelligent....not stubborn!
It's official folks, mules are the Einsteins of the domestic animal world!  Finally we have proof of what we all knew all along..... we are good at solving problems and thinking for ourselves.  Stubborn and stupid we are not.... in fact it is a proven fact that we are more flexible learners than dogs, pretty impressive for a herbivore!

It seems that those nice people at the Donkey Sanctuary are busy extolling the virtues of long ears to anyone that will listen.... here's their press release shamelessly copied with our mule hooves.... somehow we don't think they'll mind ;-)


Smart Asses! Mules lead the way in the intelligent animal league!

A study published this month reveals that mules are among the best problem solvers amongst domestic animals and demonstrate learning skills far in advance of our other four-legged friends.
I think therefore I am!
The study is the result of collaboration between The Donkey Sanctuary and Dr Britta Osthaus of Canterbury Christ Church University and looked at the ability of mules, donkeys and horses to problem solve to obtain a small food reward. The results were also compared with previous studies carried out on dogs.
Einstein in disguise??
During the tests the animals needed to work out the shortest route through a gap past a barrier to get to a food reward. The position of the gap changed after a set number of repetitions meaning that the animals needed to re-evaluate their route. On the first detour task, mules were able to take the shortest route from the start point and head straight through without hesitation. Donkeys took slightly longer to solve the problem and horses longer still. After a change in the set-up mules and donkeys proved to be far more flexible than horses and dogs who got stuck behind the barrier, not realising the gap had been moved.
Roller is slightly offended.... don't mention his habit of getting lost....
The results proved that mules are as clever as dogs at problem solving and that they also show potential to ‘learn to learn’ – applying flexibility to their thoughts and actions in response to their environment. The study also demonstrated that mules and donkeys were significantly more flexible in their approach to problem solving than horses or dogs – debunking the common myth of these animals being ‘stubborn’.
Who's got the biggest brain my doggy friend??
Dr Faith Burden who assisted with the study on behalf of The Donkey Sanctuary says: “All in all the study really backs up what we have all known but not been able to prove until now: donkeys and mules are thoughtful when presented with a problem and are accurate and fast learners. They certainly put their shorter eared cousins in the shade in this study.”
This study supports previous work carried out by the team which shows that mules not only demonstrate their ‘hybrid vigour’ physically but that this also extends to their intelligence.
So there you have it my friends, Dragon and I are off to work on the theory of relativity, the secret of life and we are trying to discover a fly spray that actually works (we could earn millions with this!), with two mule brains there is no limit.... However, I think I'd rather eat grass and snooze .... time for mule school another day, don't give up the day job FH!

18 comments:

  1. How awesome, I know I'm just a horse but Mom says I catch on much more quickly than the dogs! Oh, Mom saw a man riding a mule down the sidewalk in a nearby town today!!! Judging by the gear she thinks they're one of those long distance trekers!

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    1. We reckon you're a mule in disguise Camryn! Cool a mule in town, hope your Mom passed on our long eared regards ;-)

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  2. First and foremost, my dear Roller, there is nothing that an intelligence test will stripe away from you, being a most gentle, handsome, funny, special and caring Pony Amigo (friend). Each has the most level of intelligence for the specific tasks in life; some are meant to lead a quieter pace of life, other a hasty one, but all are equipped with great minds and spirits to do so. If a little help from our human friends is needed here and there, no shame though! :-)

    My dear Mini and Callie, there is nothing more resourceful than munching and snoozing to solve the deepest puzzles of the universe. Solutions appear in dreams!.

    I hope that the article enlightens many and that the virtues of the Mula Maravillosa (marvelous/wonderful) be held in high esteem.

    To all the wonderful Muleteers, salud! (cheers)

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    1. Mucho gracias! We are happy snoozing and eating and pondering the dreams that come with it.... Roller is extremely happy pottering along in his pony way, he knows that underneath his sleepy exterior is a mind of greatness to go along with his gentle nature, he simply chooses not to be quite such a show off as those long ears ;-)

      Neighbrays, snuffles and ample eau de pony to you our dear friend xxxx

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    2. Aahh ... my favourite perfume, gracias!

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  3. Replies
    1. Wonders will never cease, maybe next month world domination?? Hehe!

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    1. Shy is definitely an honorary mule, ponies are mules in disguise we reckon ;-)

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  5. They are very intelligent. Great photos! I see a smile in the first one. :)

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    1. Thanks Linda and welcome to the blog! Those long ears smile I'm sure, they're also very good at making the humans smile too!

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  6. The Smartest Asses in the UK! LOL :-)

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    1. Hehe we reckon and of course the most modest!! Keeping up with them's the problem!

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  7. Lovely to have found you and the mules. They're gorgeous. Will add you to my sidebar of bloginess.

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    1. Welcome Em, nice to have you along! Always great to read blogs from like minded people :-)

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  8. Aha now it becomes clear why mules are not popular with many humans. You're just far too clever for them and they don't want animals that are cleverer than themselves.
    Now I know I was a mule in a previous life xxxx

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    1. We reckon you've got long ears underneath than beautiful mane Zoe! This is most true about mules, we are superior to our humans and try to be modest most of the time but we do get a little carried away.... oops ;-)

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  9. Fascinating! Your photos and comments were beyond clever! Yep, genius has finally been recognized. The future has no limits!

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