Smartest Dogs: Moscow Stray Dogs Ride Complex Subway System and More

stray dog moscow metro

A stray dog riding the subway in Moscow from point A to point B.

Stray dogs living in Russia’s capital city Moscow have for many years been observed navigating the complex subway system.  What’s more, the stray dogs ride the subway like any other commuter, waiting patiently to reach their intended destination and getting off at their own regular stops.

Everybody likes to think they have a smart dog. Maybe it knows a few tricks like how to say hello, pee only on the rude neighbor’s yard, or crack open a bottle of your favorite beer, but there are no dogs that can compare to a significant number of the roughly 35,000 stray dogs living in Moscow.

Related Article: Pooping Dogs Perceive Earth’s Magnetic Field

Dr. Andrey Poyarkov, a biologist who has studied Moscow’s strays for 30 years, told ABC News that,

In Moscow there are all sorts of stray dogs, but… there are no stupid dogs. The street is tough and it’s survival of the fittest. These clever dogs know people much better than people know them.

stray dog nap subway

This dog takes a nap while waiting for the next stop. englishrussia.com

Studies back up Dr. Poyarkov’s assertion that the stray dogs know people better than people know the dogs. Dogs have honed their social skills over the thousands of years they’ve interacted with humans. They’ve become masters of understanding complex human emotions and human societal structure. Furthermore, dogs are the only non-primate species that instinctively moves its gaze to the right side of a face to obtain information about emotions and general state of being. Amazingly, dogs only exhibit this behavior only when meeting a human being.

Related Article: Dogs Can Predict Earthquakes by Hearing Them

Dogs are certainly an interesting and clever species due large in part to their longstanding position as Man’s best friend.This relationship is likely the reason stray dogs are able to comprehend the relatively complex intricacies of one of the world’s most extensive and impressive subway systems.

According to Poyarkov’s graduate student, Alexei Vereshchagin, what’s most impressive about the subway riding stray dogs is that they are able to remain perfectly calm and focused despite the Metro’s blaring noises and huge crowds of people. Vereshchagin explains that,

It’s stressful even for people standing in a crowd, and the dogs are lying down so no one is seeing them, so anyone can put feet on them. But they get used to this.

Poyarkov notes that Moscow’s stray dogs have adapted to human society in other incredible ways as well. For example, packs of stray dogs have been seen obeying traffic lights, and sending cuter dogs to beg for food for the pack. Packs and individual stray dogs have also been reported scaring people in an attempt to snag a free meal. The strays jump up behind people holding food and bark right behind their head, causing the person to drop their food out of fear.  Poyarkov notes that this is clearly a harmless scare tactic as the stray dogs don’t normally bite or scratch.

Fortunately the stray dogs and people of Moscow seem to be living peacefully together.  There is even a statue in the Mendeleyevskaya subway station commemorating a stray dog named Malchik, who was stabbed to death by a fashion model for barking at her pet terrier.

Related Article: A Group of Prominent Scientists Agree; Animals are Just as Conscious as Us

All of these behaviors illustrate that dogs are highly capable at adapting to new environments, especially when it comes to urban sprawls. In truth, all dog breeds are intelligent in vastly different ways. Some make great hunting companions, some are excellent at evading detection, some are the perfect security guard, while others are masters of cuddling.

The degree of intelligence also varies greatly from breed to breed, as well as from individual to individual. A great example is that of Betsy the dog, a border collie who knows more than 340 words and is able to easily connect an actual object with a photo of the same object despite having seen neither before. My dog can barely recognize her own name. She’s of the ‘expert cuddler’ class of intelligence. Chaser, a border collie from the United States, can remember the names of more than 1,000 items. Scientists also state that Chaser can categorize toys by function or shape, an activity learned by young human children.

In 1994, Stanley Coren, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, published a book entitled The Intelligence of Dogs. The book presents a list of dog breeds ordered by intelligence. Intelligence is evaluated using 3 different criteria: instinctive intelligence, adaptive intelligence, and working and obedience intelligence. Below is a list of the top 10 canine geniuses, and the top 10 canine derps. Don’t let your dog see it though since studies show that dogs are prone to human-like jealousy.

 

genius stray dog book

This dog is a genius. safe4work.org

Geniuses:

  1. Border Collie
  2. Poodle
  3. German Shepherd
  4. Golden Retriever
  5. Doberman Pinscher
  6. Shetland Sheepdog
  7. Labrador Retriever
  8. Papillon
  9. Rottweiler
  10. Australian Cattle Dog

 

 

 

Derps:

derp dog

This dog is a derp. agentmlovestacos.com

  1. Basset Hound
  2. Mastiff
  3. Beagle
  4. Pekingese
  5. Bloodhound
  6. Borzoi
  7. Chow Chow
  8. Bulldog
  9. Basenji
  10. Afghan Hound

 

 

Sources:

http://abcnews.go.com/International/Technology/stray-dogs-master-complex-moscow-subway-system/story?id=10145833

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364661305002081

http://www.perceptionweb.com/abstract.cgi?id=v070385

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/03/animal-minds/virginia-morell-text

http://www.amazon.com/The-Intelligence-Dogs-Thoughts-Companions/dp/0743280873

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/canine-corner/200907/canine-intelligence-breed-does-matter

http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/derp

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7771259.stm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12067099

Augmented Reality Blows My Mind—Twice

Numerous studies have shown that Wondergressive readers are funnier, more attractive, likeable and intelligent than the average human being (links pending, but the science looks solid to me). This being the case, I’m sure many of you were already aware of futuristic-sounding, mind-blowing technology known as augmented reality. It even sounds very sci-fi. I’ve chanced upon this amazing bit of science twice (that I’m aware of) so far, and both times I’ve been left with my mouth hanging open.

The first time I ran into it was at Printing Arts, a print shop in Broadview, IL. They were printing baseball cards (which are apparently “in” again) as well as some other sports-related collateral when one of the guys showed me a card that was about an eighth of an inch thick. It had a cutout on the front through which you could feel the fabric of some player’s jersey. I think it was some football player’s, but honestly, I’m not a sports girl so I don’t remember exactly what game it was. Anyway, he told me to take out my phone, pull up the camera and wait for it to focus on the card from directly above it. Not sure what to expect, I played along. Holy shit—a video started to play on my camera screen! I was floored. Still am, actually.

Basically, the camera picks up on some code which wasn’t visible on the face of the card, accesses the corresponding video from the interwebs and streams it right onto your phone. This all happens in the space of seconds, not minutes, and is virtually transparent to the user.

The second instance was very recent. A work acquaintance showed me an app he had on his iPhone called SkyView by Terminal Eleven. Being something of an astronomy nut and long-time stargazer, I was again amazed by how far technology had come while I wasn’t looking.

StarView is an augmented reality app that shows you a view of the sky right on your iPhone. As you move your mobile device through the air, it seamless reveals the heavens in your little window. Stars, constellations, planets and even satellites all show up. You can further see the trajectory of celestial objects for a 24-hour period and even change the date to see the results of the past or the future.

While both those examples are great and awe-inspiring for sure, there are actually many practical uses for augmented reality, especially in our increasingly mobile lives. Educational apps like Science AR and Anatomy 4D turn posters and other printed materials into interactive pieces. Virtual History ROMA boasts about its “full-immersion panoramic experience.”

WorkSnug allows you to see where free WiFi is located and even has a decibel meter to gauge noise level so that you can work comfortably wherever you’re at. Speaking of cities, Acrossair tells Londoners where their nearest tube station is via their iPhone’s video function.

User “Mos D.” says of Yelp’s Monocle app:

I love monocle (sic). Stand on the street, point it around you 360 degrees, and it shows you nearby places. Imagine you are the Terminator and that’s how it works.

Is that what all this is coming to? We’ll all have Terminators in our pockets and will navigate the world through miniature screens? If it means not having to ask questionable, seedy-looking strangers where the subway is, I’m on board.

References
Printing Arts
SkyView
Terminal Eleven Twitter
Science AR app
Anatomy 4D app
Virtual History ROMA app
WorkSnug
Acrossair
Mos D. Yelp Monocle comment