The Prey-in-the-Box Test

Researchers gave 39 species food in a bolt-locked box. Many did not fare well.

A team led by a University of Wyoming researcher wanted to test the skills of certain carnivores by giving the animals bolt-locked metal boxes with meat inside. They tested 140 zoo animals from 39 species and considered their rates of success opening the boxes alongside their brain size and their social structure in the wild. Not surprisingly for anyone who lives near wooded areas, bears did best, followed by raccoons. Meerkats were far less successful, coming in dead last out of the entire group, despite living in complex social groups that previous research suggests might have helped.