Dingoes have been filmed performing a series of feats described by scientists as evidence of “unbelievable intelligence”.
In experiments performed by researchers in Melbourne, one dingo was filmed moving a table to use as a step-ladder to reach food. Another opened a gate latch with his nose to reach a female partner.
Dingoes, which are native to Australia, are regarded as smarter than domestic dogs and have been described as “the most intelligent animal in Australia apart from man”…
“If indeed these examples can be considered cases of tool-use, they may represent the first documented evidence of such behaviour in a canid, particularly as this behaviour occurred spontaneously,” says the paper, authored by Bradley Smith, Robert Appleby and Carla Litchfield.
“After several unsuccessful attempts at jumping for the envelope, Sterling ‘solved’ the task by first moving and then jumping up onto a trestle table.
Importantly, Sterling was never purposely trained or encouraged to exhibit this (or similar) behaviour.”
In the gate-opening exercise, a dog named Teddy pushed up a latch with his nose after being separated from his partner, named Ayjay. “Sanctuary staff maintain that Teddy only opens the gate when Ayjay is removed from the same enclosure as Teddy,” the paper says.
A behavioural ecologist, Darryl Jones, Griffith University, said the feats were a “remarkable” example of tool use and involved “manipulating a completely external object to the animal to do something that requires foresight”.
Which justifies an Oz version of one one of my favorite local bumper stickers: “My dog is smarter than your 6th-grader”