Friday, June 11, 2004

Dogs again -- not so far behind?

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Collie dog's word power impresses
A very smart collie dog named Rico has stunned German researchers by learning words with the apparent flare of a young child, Science magazine reports.

Rico understands more than 200 words and can work out the meaning of new ones, by a process of elimination.

What is more, Rico can often remember new words after a whole month - even though he has only heard them once before, the scientists claim.

This article quotes some who deprecate Rico's capabilities. They are unconvincing. Canine genius or not, he teaches us some fascinating things about the evolution of language and cognition.

A bit of breeding for puberty, longevity and language capabilities and we might produce a quite different dog. I wonder if the dog would thank us or not.

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