Neil deGrasse Tyson Tests Dogs Ability To Identify 1,000 Different Toys By Name, Then One She's Never Seen Before

August 24, 2018

This is a video from a 2012 episode of NovaSCIENCE starring Neil deGrasse Tyson testing border collie Chaser's ability to identify over 1,000 different toys by their unique names (he doesn't actually test all 1,000 -- just a random sampling, which she aces). He then adds a new toy to the mix (a stuffed Darwin doll) and asks her to retrieve Darwin, a name and toy she's never seen before. Can she associate the name she's never heard with the one toy she's not familiar with? SPOILER: Of course she can, she's a CLEVER GIRL. Previously: a video of Chaser demonstrating the same ability with her trainer John W. Pilley (1928 - 2018, rest in peace). Chaser is recognized as having the largest memory of any non-human animal, and can retrieve over 1,022 toys by name and category (ie ball, frisbee, stuffed animal). Impressive. When reached for comment, my dog Margaret insisted she could do better, even though not so deep down we both know she thinks her name is Treat or Outside.

Keep going for the video. First experiment is at 2:00, unknown toy is at 3:45.

Thanks again to Christina D, who agrees all dogs are special in the own way.

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