Kisses and Scritches (Magnolia and Shelby the cows)

Magnolia and Shelby have both lived at Animal Place for five years, and they’re obviously good friends!

People might say that we’re just projecting when we say cows are friends. But cows can distinguish pictures of cows from pictures of other animals–they can tell a cow from a goat, for example (Coulon et al., 2007). They even recognize pictures of cows they know rather than cows they don’t (Coulon et al., 2011).

In other words, cows not only recognize their friends–they can recognize pictures of their friends! That means they have an idea in their head of what their friend looks like. We’ve only barely begun to understand the complexity of their thoughts and feelings!

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