Pigs do not try to show interesting things to humans like dogs do, study finds

It may not come as a surprise to dog owners when our dogs try to show us things that they find interesting, like a treat or a toy.

But, while remarkable similarities have been found between the two species, it’s likely that a pig won’t be directing you into its favorite mud any time soon.

This is because researchers at Hungary’s Eötvös Loránd University have discovered that human-socialized pigs do not share this behavior with dogs.

“We suggest that pigs may lack important features that are crucial for the emergence of this type of communication,” said first author Paula Pérez Fraga.

Researchers at Eötvös Loránd University have discovered that human-socialized pigs will not try to show us things that they find interesting.  In the image: the researcher Paula Pérez and a pig.

Researchers at Eötvös Loránd University have discovered that human-socialized pigs will not try to show us things that they find interesting. In the image: the researcher Paula Pérez and a pig.

The team made this discovery while investigating the pig’s ability to demonstrate “referential communication.” In the image: Left: Test setup. Right: Experimenter hiding the food. S = subject, O = owner, B = hidden boxes, E = experimenter, P = plastic container

The team made this discovery while investigating the pig’s ability to demonstrate “referential communication.”

This is an interaction between two parties where one directs the attention of the other to a specific entity.

Humans do this easily with language or gestures, such as pointing at something, and many animal species have also been found to use it with each other, such as dogs.

Chickens can communicate through at least 24 different vocalizations, as well as different visual presentations, and can use these for referential communication.

When roosters are shown computer animations of their predators, they use different alarm calls depending on the type of predator shown.

So when shown flying predators, they gave one type of alarm call, and when shown ground predators, such as raccoons, they gave another distinctive alarm call.

For the study, published today in Scientific Reports, the researchers sought to see if this was a necessary trait for the skill, using socialized dogs and pigs.

For the study, published today in Scientific Reports, the researchers sought to see if this was a necessary trait for the skill, using socialized dogs and pigs.

For the study, published today in Scientific Reports, the researchers sought to see if this was a necessary trait for the skill, using socialized dogs and pigs.

WHAT IS ‘REFERENTIAL COMMUNICATION’?

Referential communication is an interaction between two parties where one directs the attention of the other to a specific entity.

Humans easily do this with language or gestures, such as pointing at something, and many animal species have also been found to use it with each other.

Domesticated animals, such as dogs, and some animals socialized by humans, such as horses, cats, and kangaroos, have been found to be able to referentially communicate with humans.

But whether animals can referentially communicate with humans is another story.

Ms Pérez Fraga said: ‘Domestic animals seem especially predisposed to referentially communicate with humans.

“However, some wild animals socialized by humans can also do this, so domestication might not be the key to the emergence of this communicative ability after all.”

The researchers noted that animals that can referentially communicate with humans, domestic or otherwise, tend to be species that primarily use visual cues with one another.

For the study, published today in scientific reportsthey tried to see if this was a necessary feature for the skill, using socialized dogs and pigs.

The domestication of dogs is believed to have occurred at least 15,000 years ago, when gray wolves and dogs diverged from an extinct wolf species.

Many researchers believe that their ability to bond with humans developed around the same time they became more tame, probably over thousands of years.

But while pigs are becoming an increasingly popular pet, they have not undergone the same evolution and are therefore still considered feral.

Dogs are also known to rely heavily on visual communication, while pigs are primarily vocal, with grunts and squeals.

All of the participating pigs had been raised with human families, so they were familiar with people and their behaviors could be compared to those of dogs.

All of the participating pigs had been raised with human families, so they were familiar with people and their behaviors could be compared to those of dogs.

All of the participating pigs had been raised with human families, so they were familiar with people and their behaviors could be compared to those of dogs.

For the experiment, a pig or dog was led into a room with a food reward under a box.  This was unattainable for the animal but accessible to the owner.

For the experiment, a pig or dog was led into a room with a food reward under a box.  This was unattainable for the animal but accessible to the owner.

For the experiment, a pig or dog was led into a room with a food reward under a box. This was unattainable for the animal but accessible to the owner.

They were left there alone or with their owner, or they were left with their owner but no food reward was present.

They were left there alone or with their owner, or they were left with their owner but no food reward was present.

They were left there alone or with their owner, or they were left with their owner but no food reward was present.

All of the participating pigs had been raised with human families, so they were familiar with people and their behaviors could be compared to those of dogs.

For the experiment, a pig or dog was led into a room with a food reward under a box. This was unattainable for the animal but accessible to the owner.

They were left there alone or with their owner, or alternatively they were left with their owner but no food reward was present.

Dr Attila Andics, the principal investigator, said: “We expected an increase in referential communicative behaviors when both the owner and the food reward were present, meaning that the animal was directing the human’s attention to the location of the food.” food”.

To be counted as a referential behavior, the animal would first have to interact with the reward box and orient its body towards it.

They would then face their owner if they were present in the room, or the door, behind which they knew their owner was, if they were not.

To be counted as a referential behavior, the animal would first have to interact with the reward box and orient its body towards it.  They would then face their owner if they were present in the room, or the door, behind which they knew their owner was, if they were not.  In the image: A: time spent orienting to the dog and pig boxes, B: time spent interacting with the dog and pig boxes

To be counted as a referential behavior, the animal would first have to interact with the reward box and orient its body towards it.  They would then face their owner if they were present in the room, or the door, behind which they knew their owner was, if they were not.  In the image: A: time spent orienting to the dog and pig boxes, B: time spent interacting with the dog and pig boxes

To be counted as a referential behavior, the animal would first have to interact with the reward box and orient its body towards it. They would then face their owner if they were present in the room, or the door, behind which they knew their owner was, if they were not. In the image: A: time spent orienting to the dog and pig boxes, B: time spent interacting with the dog and pig boxes

Despite being raised with humans, the pigs did not try to steer their owner towards the treat.  In the image: A: Time spent orienting towards the door/owner for dogs and pigs, B: Orientation alternation frequency for dogs and pigs

Despite being raised with humans, the pigs did not try to steer their owner towards the treat.  In the image: A: Time spent orienting towards the door/owner for dogs and pigs, B: Orientation alternation frequency for dogs and pigs

Despite being raised with humans, the pigs did not try to steer their owner towards the treat. In the image: A: Time spent orienting towards the door/owner for dogs and pigs, B: Orientation alternation frequency for dogs and pigs

Dogs and pigs were more oriented toward their owner than toward the door, and alternated between the food box and the owner more than the food box and the door.

This shows that both species have a similar disposition to attend to humans.

However, only the dogs alternated between the box and the owner more when the box contained food than when it did not, suggesting that they were trying to steer them towards it.

Despite being raised with humans, the pigs did not attempt to direct their owner toward the treat, either with visual cues or vocalizations.

Dr Andics said: “We found that when pigs and dogs were alone with their owners, they paid similar attention to their owners.”

“However, after the experimenter hid the reward, only the dogs tried to show their owners where it was.

“The pigs, by contrast, just tried to find a way to take it themselves.”

Therefore, the researchers conclude that an animal’s ability to referentially communicate with us may not be the result of human socialization.

Pigs may inherently lack something necessary for this, which could be a preference for visual communication with members of the same species.

The authors wrote: “That, in turn, may be due to anatomical limitations, such as poor vision and neck stiffness.”

They also claim that the pigs’ strong desire to open the box and access the treat may have overridden any desire to direct a human to it.

Scientists translate pig grunts into emotions for the first time

Scientists say they have translated pig grunts into emotions for the first time, in a potential breakthrough for monitoring animal welfare.

The researchers trained an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm on 7,414 pig noise recordings, collected throughout the life stages of 411 pigs, including slaughter.

The algorithm could potentially be used to build an app for pig farmers that detects whether the animals are happy just by the noise they are making.

With enough data to train the algorithm, the method could also be used to better understand the emotions of other mammals, the experts say.

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