5 Food Animals That Are Smarter Than Your Pet

Sheep are sharp. You just have to get 'em alone. Crazybboy/iStock/Thinkstock

We usually think about eating the baby form of sheep, lamb, but people consume adult sheep as well, mostly in France, Africa, the Caribbean, the Middle East, India, parts of China, Australia, and New Zealand [source: Apple]. We just call it mutton when it shows up on our dinner plate.

The tendency of sheep to follow their flock can leave people with the impression that these animals aren't the sharpest tools in the shed. Enter science to prove otherwise! Scientists have shown that sheep are at least as smart as rodents, monkeys, and in some tests, even humans. They recognize people, respond when you call their names and can react to the nuances of different facial expressions. Even cooler, these animals can form a mental map of their surroundings, and they show signs of being able to plan [source: Gray].

Taken individually, sheep show off their smarts much more so than when they're together in a flock. It's just rare that we encounter them alone, so we don't often get the chance to see them shine.