Study Suggests Ducklings Might Be Smarter Than Previously Thought

Study Suggests Ducklings Might Be Smarter Than Previously Thought

Do you think you’re smarter than ducklings that are capable of abstract thought? A new study has found evidence showing that newborn ducklings can recognize the ‘same’ and ‘different’ concept.

A ducking even identifies its mother and started following right after it is hacked, as per the study published in the journal Science on July 14.

Researchers used ducklings’ this behavior to conduct an experiment. They wanted to know whether these adorable creatures learn to recognize their mother through a simple visual memory or whether there’s a complex mechanism.

To understand this, the researchers, led by Antone Martinho from the University of Oxford, organized a test where they implied ‘same’ and ‘different’ concept. A newborn duckling was placed to identify two objects that were either same or different in size and shapes. All the objects were of same color. When the two objects started moving, the duckling also started walking with them, said the researchers.

After about 30 minutes, the same duckling was exposed to two pairs of objects: one pair was the same shape while the other was different. The researchers wanted to know which pair the baby will choose. They noted that most of the ducklings in the study followed the pair that was of same shape. More than 60% of ducklings learned the concept of 'same' versus 'different’.

The research team conducted the experiment on 66 newborn ducklings and found that accuracy was about the same. Of the experimented babies, about 45 followed the objects with the same relational concept.

“We really did go into this expecting them not to be able to do this. We were shocked not only that they did it, but also that they did it with such accuracy”, said Martinho in a statement.


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