On Rodent Intelligence

How many people think that a rodent is intelligent enough to run the country? The answer, it seems, is scientists who have studied them.

One report, published on the Internet, suggests that mice have a "general intelligence" that can be measured scientifically. Not only do mice have a version of the same "general intelligence" attributed to humans, they also differ greatly from one another in skills and abilities (see Mouse Intelligence Measured (Rutgers University).

A mouse is likewise capable of placing items in strategic locations so that they can be used later on as road signs marking the way to a particular place. Such rational behavior suggests that mice have good memories and are adept at planning ahead. The study found their mental capabilities to be "sophisticated" (see BBC News Online).

People who keep pet rats are nearly always surprised and impressed by their obvious intelligence (see Fancy Rats. It has also been observed that rats can pass information on from one rat generation to the next (see Don't only humans have the ability to pass on cultural information from one generation to the next?).

The legendary intelligence of squirrels has also been the subject of study, with one researcher concluding that squirrels are "highly intelligent" animals, possessing remarkable memory. Indeed, the average squirrel needs to bury 10,000 nuts to survive a single winter. The nuts are all hidden away in different places, yet the squirrel is capable of returning to claim each nut separately (see High Squirrel Intelligence Levels Discovered).

Chinchillas, too, are valued for their "smarts," says another web page (www.planet-pets.com/chinchlla.htm). And rat mothers are capable of nurturing their young in such a way as to maximize intelligence and learning ability (see Nurturing Helps Intelligence).

Similar "brainy" activity is known to exist among hamsters, gerbils, and guinea pigs, among others.

Not to be disrespectful, but it would appear from the research that a rodent with a long-term memory and the capacity to plan ahead surpasses in leadership quality the current White House occupant. From a purely practical point of view, in other words, it makes sense to elect rodents to public office, from the federal to the state and local levels.

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