Half a Pig Head – Pig Skull Cross Section
I read people making grandiose claims about how pigs are so intelligent. Well, pigs are pretty good at being pigs but they lose out big time compared to dogs in the intelligence arms race. At least compared with our dogs. Perhaps we just have dumb pigs and intelligent dogs. But I don’t think so. Thus, I present this little bit of evidence which consists of half a pig brain. The purpose of that picture is to put to rest the myth that pigs are highly intelligent beings. They aren’t.
The photo above is half of Anna‘s head, post butchering. The area in blue on the right is her brain. Compare the size of her brain with the size of her head. Realize that Anna weighed over a quarter ton and had a brain the size of a chicken egg. There really isn’t much for brains there. Not only that but if you examine the brain you find that most of it is devoted to smell and other primitive functions. There is very little in the way of higher centers of thinking and reasoning.
Pigs look like they have big heads like ET but that gives a false impression of intelligence. What is really in there? The fact is they are muscle heads. Or bone heads. Pick your phrase. Their heads are evolved to act as shovels and bulldozers. A pig head consists of a lot of bone and muscle, a lot of jaws and teeth and a lot of sinuses in their big pig noses. But there isn’t much brain in there. But they don’t need much for brains – they don’t do cooperative behavior like dogs and humans.
On the other hand, dog brains make up not just a larger percentage of the dog’s head and body weight but are actually physically larger than pig brains. That’s with the pig even having the advantage of being so much larger. If a dog was as large as a pig it would have a huge brain. A pig as small as a dog has a brain about the size of a little pullet egg – Tiny.
Unfortunately, Hollywood movies like “Babe” and “Charlotte’s Web” which use 48 and 47 pigs respectively – each trained to just one trick, give the public the false impression that pigs are as intelligent as dogs or even people. They aren’t. The movie magic gives a false impression of intelligence through the use of look-a-likes and cuts in the filming. This is just like the stunts – you don’t really think Super Man leaps tall buildings or the Wolverine has Adamantium claws that shoot out of his fist, do you? It’s fun, but pig’s aren’t intelligent like dogs or people. First time you play chess with one or listen to their poetry you’ll understand what I mean.
Brain size doesn’t even say it all. I’ve dealt with thousands of pigs and dozens of dogs over many generations in their natural environments. I’ve trained many of both as well as having trained many other animals. I know how to teach them and how to manipulate their natural behaviors. Pigs have a range of things that are in their ken. Dogs have a much wider ken, a much wider range of behaviors. Pigs are herd animals where the primary motivation is selfish personal interest – thus the whole reason that pigs are associated with acting like a, well, a pig. Pigs want sex, food, a nice place to lay down and companionship – in that order. In a herd their primary goal is to not get eaten but rather to let some weaker member of the herd get sacrificed instead of them. The exception is the sow protecting her nest – and she won’t leave it far – and the boar who’s hopped up on hormones to protect his territory. Realize the sow is not really protecting the piglets – she’s protecting the nesting site.
Dogs, on the other hand, are predatory pack animals who have to communicate and work with other members of their pack, study their prey, out think it, communicate complex concepts and plans and kill their prey without getting hurt even though said prey animals are often much larger and more powerful than the wolves. Predators strongly tend to be more intelligent than their prey for this reason. (There are exceptions like sharks but we’ll ignore them since they perfected their predation techniques over literally 300 million years of evolution.) The result is dogs have a team spirit, an ability to work together toward common goals, that pigs just don’t naturally have.
Think about it this way: a small 30 lb livestock herding and guarding dog like Romula can not only protect a farm’s livestock from coyotes, bears and the like who out mass her by an order of magnitude but she can move and control a herd of sheep, cattle or hundreds of pigs ranging in size from the small 10 lb piglets to the giant 1,000 lb boars. They move where she wants them to move. The fact is: Dogs rule. It’s not that Romula has bigger teeth, she doesn’t. It’s not that she is stronger, she’s not. It’s not that she’s bigger, she’s not. It’s simply that she’s more intelligent at what she does – she’s a predator and can turn those instincts, through learning, to herd protection. Now put her in a pack of many dogs like Romula and they work wonders together.
Pigs are very good at being pigs. But pigs are not intelligent like dogs and they certainly don’t have human level intelligence. I like pigs. They’re fun. “Babe” and “Charlotte’s Web” are fun movies. But it’s important to keep things in perspective. Pigs are not people.
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Should you wave your right to white rice,
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