Genius Stray Dogs of Moscow

By Anupum Pant

Back in the old days, there weren’t as many fast food centres and restaurants in Moscow (anywhere actually). So, stray dogs of those times didn’t find many people holding food stuff. Instead of begging for food, the dogs preferred searching for it on their own. Probably bins of residences and factories were the best places to find food.

Soon, fast food centres and restaurants started pooping and factories started converting into shopping centres, in the new world. This changed something. Dogs started feeling a need to adapt to the city life. For one, their strategies to forage for food changed. Stray dogs started developing better techniques to get food.

Gathering Food in a City

They started sneaking behind people who carried food. And just when they felt the moment was right, they barked. The men got scared and dropped the food. Moreover, they’d jump and bark just behind the head of people to startle them. They don’t bite, their aim is to just get the food somehow. Other times, packs of dogs send out smaller and cuter dogs to beg for food!
To make their food finding efficient, they have figured out which one of the many people would actually get startled. Dogs turned into dog psychologists. The dogs of today know Muscovites better than Muscovites know the dogs.

Travelling in the Subway

Besides that, the stray dogs of Moscow have mastered using the subways. To travel across the great city, the dogs move around in the subways with the humans as if it’s totally normal. Unlike the domesticated dogs, these dogs have mastered the art of handling dog stress that is associated with loud sounds. What scares the domesticated dogs, has become normal for the stray dogs of Moscow now.

The most amazing part is that, even if they can’t read, they somehow know where to get in and where to get out. Scientists are guessing that it could be the signature scents they associate with various stations. Or may be there’s something else. It’s hard to know. That is the reason there are people who’ve been formally studying local stray dogs for 30 years now!

The thing is, even the city people love these dogs. In fact, they even have a dog’s memorial statue in one of the subway station. Watch how the city dogs move in train…

By watching the traffic lights, dogs there have even learnt to cross the street. After I read and watched what these dogs have been doing, I’ve found new respect for these seemingly “not so clever” animals.

Still they have a long way to go before they can get as smart as crows of Japan. [Link]

Intelligent Men Look Different – Says Science

By Anupum Pant


I know, I’m not a very big fan of intelligence scores or IQ points measured using the standard IQ tests available today. And even if this study does rely on those scores, I still find it pretty interesting. You will too…

Judging a book by its cover isn’t unwise after all. A recent study published by researchers from the Czech Republic proves that all of us humans have a natural ability to estimate how intelligent a man really is, by just looking at his facial features. That said, the study also mentions that you can’t judge a woman’s intelligence by observing her facial features. It works for only men. However, both men and women have this ability to estimate the intelligence of a man by looking at his face.

The study finds no solid correlation between the features of a woman’s face and their intelligence. That means, to find out about how intelligent a woman is, you’ll have to dig deeper than just the facial features.

People can accurately judge intelligence by looking at faces of men, but not women.

The study did not use a very huge sample – Still pictures of 40 men and 40 women were used. Nevertheless even 80 pictures contribute a significant amount to science. No experiment is a bad one. We’ll probably see more such studies and know more about the phenomenon in the near future.

They also measured the intelligence of these 80 people using standard IQ tests and asked people to rate their intelligence. It was found that people were able to almost accurately tell the IQ of a man by looking at his picture!

How do we do it?

We have an inbuilt ability to spot the shape and features of intelligent men. This could be a pretty logical evolutionary trait.

Faces of intelligent men: According to the researchers, longer faces with greater distance between the eyes, pointy chins, larger noses, slightly smiley lips are the features of highly intelligent men.

Faces of not so intelligent men: Whereas broader and rounded faces with eyes closer to each other, shorter faces, sad lips and bigger chins are the signs which tell us that a man is not so intelligent.

Here see the difference yourself. What do you think? Could you spot it? Which one of these faces is the closest to your face? Tell me in the comments below. Tell me about mine too.

intelligent face

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Appreciating Ants and Their Counting Skills

By Anupum Pant

Success = Ants

Ants are arguably the most successful multi-cellular organisms to have ever existed on earth. The first ants on earth started appearing long before humans, even before dinosaurs – about 120 million years from now. Since then, they have even survived a mass extinction event (Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event) which wiped off all the dinosaurs from the face of our planet.

Sheer Number

Except Antarctica, the Arctic, and some other remote islands, ants have spread into almost every other part of the land. In fact, today, there are so many ants in the world that for each human being on the planet, at any point of time, there are about 1.5 billion living ants – about 10 thousand trillion ants in total! Of these 8000 kinds of ants that exist, only 10% of the species have been studied.

Collective intelligence

Ants, individually aren’t very bright. But they live in vast colonies that can include upto 50 million individuals in a single colony. Each one of them can contribute their own intelligence to the group, to form a huge brain – a “collective intelligence” of a super-organism. Just like each of our neurons in our brains work individually to form an intelligent brain.

For example, it is known that each of the fire ant’s exoskeleton is made up of a material that repels water. Together, these ants can take advantage of this blessing to survive floods. It has been seen that several hundreds of ants can, within seconds, assemble into a raft that floats on water for a long time. They don’t need your boat Dexter.

Their homes

Ants are able to build massive underground cities. Some scientists have tried pouring molten aluminum or concrete, and digging into their underground cities to study their structure. The results were incredible. A colossal network of well ventilated highways and side-roads was found connecting their colonies. It seemed as if the whole structure was designed by a single master-mind. [Video]

And they can also count

In the arid deserts where the winds are powerful enough to blow away the chemical trails marked by ants, they use their in-built pedometers (step counting machines) to find their way back home. [Video]