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Many animals in the world have a surprisingly good memory. For example, dolphins, elephants, parrots, and dogs have exceptional memory and can remember things for a very long time.
However, in this article, we are going to talk about animals with bad memory. A recent study conducted on various animal species resulted in a 27-second average short-term memory span.
Do not get surprised, some animals on the list, despite being intelligent creatures, have a poor short memory.
Without further due, let’s meet our five animals with the shortest memory:
Animals With Bad Memory
It will surprise many of you to see chimpanzees on this list of animals with bad memory. We consider chimpanzees to be some of the smartest animals in the world. If not THE smartest.
They are able to solve and understand various complex problems and tasks. The reason chimps are so intelligent is that the part of their brain (responsible for learning and developing) never stops growing. The same as in humans.
Chimpanzees are our closest relatives, with whom we share 98% of our DNA. But how come the chimps have such a developed brain capacity but poor short memory?
Researchers have reported that chimpanzees forget an event within 20 seconds. (source) Their results surprised biologists since they are our closest relatives.
However, it is believed that the capacity for memory in humans evolved after we branched from our ancestors a long time ago.
It is worth mentioning that short-term memory differs from long-term memory, and if the information is not biologically important to the animal (finding food or avoiding danger), it will forget it after 20 seconds.
FUN FACT: Chimps live in groups of 20 to 30 individuals led by an alpha chimp!
Related Article: What Animals Have Big Ears?
We are familiar with the bees’ ability to make collective decisions when selecting nectar sources. But that is not all.
A recent study at the Queen Mary University of London explained that bees are intelligent enough to use tools and learn by observing. Here’s what the researchers have published in their study:
"We explored bees’ behavioral flexibility in a task that required transporting a small ball to a defined location to gain a reward. Bees were pretrained to know the correct location of the ball. Subsequently, to obtain a reward, bees had to move a displaced ball to the defined location. Bees that observed demonstration of the technique from a live or model demonstrator learned the task more efficiently than did bees observing a “ghost” demonstration (ball moved via magnet) or without demonstration. Instead of copying demonstrators moving balls over long distances, observers solved the task more efficiently, using the ball positioned closest to the target, even if it was of a different color than the one previously observed. Such unprecedented cognitive flexibility hints that entirely novel behaviors could emerge relatively swiftly in species whose lifestyle demands advanced learning abilities, should relevant ecological pressures arise."
Despite the exceptional abilities that bees possess, they are animals with a pretty bad short memory.
In the same study conducted on chimps, bees displayed the worst memory of only 2.5 seconds.
FUN FACT: During its lifetime, one bee produces a teaspoon of honey!
Baboons are extremely smart animals that enjoy spending time with their family. Throughout numerous experiments, biologists have found that baboons were able to understand language and words in a sequence.
But that is not all of it. Baboons can evaluate numbers!
Namely, in a study, conducted a group of baboons had a task to choose between two cups of peanuts. Over 75% successfully chose cups that contained larger quantities of peanuts.
However, baboons are animals with not-so-great short-term memory. In fact, baboons would forget an event within 15 seconds.
FUN FACT: In order to elevate its status in the social ranking, a low-ranked baboon will take care of a high-ranked member’s baby!
Hamsters are rodents whose population as pets is growing rapidly. Considering how cute they are, it is not a surprise they became such popular pets. But what about their mental capacities and memory?
How do hamsters fit when we talk about animals with bad memory? They fit perfectly!
Hamsters have a poor memory. According to the owners, hamsters forget what they were doing in the middle of the action.
It is believed that the hamster’s short-term memory is no longer than 3 seconds.
As far as their intelligence is concerned, not many studies have been conducted to determine how smart hamsters actually are. However, if you train patiently with your rodent pet, it may be able to recognize you and even respond to their names.
FUN FACT: Hamsters are fast runners, and because of their specific hind legs, they can even run backward!
Seals, also known as pinnipeds, are widely distributed semi-aquatic species that rely on marine ecosystems for their survival. Today, there are 33 species of seals mostly feeding on fish.
Sea lions are especially intelligent seals species that can understand words, commands, sign language, and even mimic human language and laughter.
Seal lions have great long-term memory and they may need one year to learn how to perform a trick, but even after three months of not performing it, they would remember the trick perfectly.
As regards their short-term memory, it is not that great. Seals will forget an action after 18 seconds.
FUN FACT: Some seals can dive 900 meters deep and hold their breath for up to 2 hours!
Conclusion on Animals with Worst Memory
Animals with the worst memory are chimpanzees, bees, baboons, hamsters, and seals. An animal’s memory may differ from species to species; however, only a few animals pass with good results when it comes to short-term memory.
If an event is not worth an animal’s attention, and it is not crucial for its survival, they’ll forget about it in no time. An animal’s average short-term memory is around 27 seconds.
After 27 seconds pass by and an event hasn’t triggered anything significant in the animals’ brain, it is already a forgotten memory!