Give pigs a chance to experiment with a mirror first and most of them can find dinner based on only a food bowl's reflection, says Donald Broom of the University of Cambridge in England, who studies animal cognition and welfare. Pigs that don't have a chance to learn about mirrors first tend to poke around behind the mirror, Broom and his colleagues report in an upcoming issue of Animal Behaviour.
Broom says the findings suggest that pigs have what he considers a relatively higher degree of awareness. In what he terms "assessment awareness," an animal marshals observations and memories to evaluate a situation in relation to itself over a short span of time and demonstrates this awareness with appropriate action.
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