Animals have terrible short-term memory

Dogs, like other non-human animals, seem to have very short short-term memory spans that last from a few seconds up to several minutes.  The average across all animals may only be about 27 seconds.  Based on these findings, animal specialist Johan Lind at Stockholm University who led the study, has concluded that “animals have no long-termmemory of arbitrary events.”   His team studied nearly 100 data set results from a memory test of recent events given to animals across 25 species including birds, mammals, and bees. They found that dogs can remember something for at most two minutes while chimpanzees seem to retain information for about 20 seconds which is shorter than a rat’s capacity.  Lind was surprised at the chimps’ lack of short-term memory, as they are the most closely related species to humans, who have no problem performing the test for 48 hours or more. Though the study shows that animals have quickly disappearing short-term memories, they are also thought to have “specialized memory systems” that can hold “biologically significant information” for a long time such as the location of a food source.  

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