Which is wiser squid or elephant

Animal Social Intelligence: Your horse knows how you were this morning

Horses can not only read human faces. You can also remember people's emotions

In the past few years there has been much to read about astonishing intelligence in the animal kingdom. But mostly it was about the usual suspects, such as great apes, whales and dolphins, elephants. Horses, on the other hand, have not been suspected of being extremely clever for a long time. This could change now.

Researchers at the Universities of Sussex and Portsmouth have discovered that ungulates can tell a person's emotional state not only from images. You can still remember this impression hours later.

Horses are amazing people who understand people

The scientists showed the animals different photos of people, some with an angry, some with a happy expression. Several hours later, the researchers confronted their animal test subjects with the real person - in a neutral state.

In order not to falsify the results, the human test persons themselves were not informed which of the two variants had been shown to the horses beforehand.

The horses' reaction clearly showed that the social herd animals still remembered the facial expression six hours later - even if they had only seen the picture briefly.

The line of sight says a lot about the animal's expectations

The researchers mainly looked at which eye the horses used to look at the real people. The researchers knew from previous experiments with dogs that some mammals are more likely to look at people with angry facial expressions with their left eye. For one simple reason: the left eye is neuronally linked to the right hemisphere of the brain, which is responsible for processing impending dangers.

Over the millennia of human and horse coexistence, the study found, this ability may have evolved to identify people who may pose a threat.

Horses are even a little ahead of the more prominent "clever" animals. "We knew horses were socially intelligent animals. But this is the first time that this special ability has been demonstrated in a mammal," says co-author Leanne Proops of the University of Portsmouth.

More popular articles on GEO.de