What's the stupidest animal?

Is there any way to judge this? It must be able to move on its own. Which is the least able to actually learn new circumstances and retain? Ants? Flies? Mythbusters showed that goldfish can actually learn new pathways…

I thought I’d read that flies had never been trained to learn a trick.

There are animal species which are sessile and consist of just a few cells. I suspect any of those would have rather limited capacity for learning.

The jellyfish and other cnidarians lack a brain altogether. AFAIK they are completely incapable of learning anything. They can become conditioned or sensitised to stimuli, but they can not actually learn novel responses.

As above, you can find an animal with essentially any amount of brain, from close to a single functioning cell, all the way up to whales. That isn’t a useful definition.

Personally I think it is a Red Setter. Closely followed by human beings. I would define stupid (here as a coloquial use - not the OED where stupid derives from stupify) as an animal that actively does things that would qualify for a Darwin Award.

I have known a red setter, upon being taken to the beach, to jump in the sea and start swimming. Straight out. And keep swimming. And swimming. The owners found a boat and rowed out and hauling him into the boat and took him back. The next stop would have been Antarctica.

Actively doing things that clearly will put their survival in jeopardy is not something most animals will do. Not unless there is a deep drive - like protecting young. But humans, we do it all the time. That is what I call stupid.

At the risk of perhaps being a little unfair, I want to nominate sheep. I’ve encountered sheep many times in my life. I’ve never seen sheep do anything that suggested a flicker of intelligence. I’ve often seen them demonstrate the reverse, such as not responding to or moving away from danger, but moving away from things that are not dangerous. But regardless of whatever scant anecdotal evidence I might be able to dredge up, I just think they look mentally vacant, all day evey day.

That’s spooky. I was just about to nominate the Irish setter we had when I was a kid, which died when it impaled itself on a stick in the middle of a field.

As a person who grew up around the farm, I would have to nominate chickens for the same reasons. Stupid, stupid animals. Roosters also get extra points in my book for being ornery little bastards.

Also: Pigeons…and doves. Come to think of it, I may just have a serious prejudice against birds.

By which standard a wolf is far more stupid than a setter. Since only the alpha male and female ever breed, the vast majority of wolves will never pass on their genes, and thus much more stupid than setters.

Which highlights the problem in trying to use this defintion. Lots of animals sacrifice their own reproductive success for the benefits of their kin, and setters are no different. Setters are more successful than wolves in terms of both number and geographic spread precisely because they do behave the way that we want them to. If people had wanted smart setters they would have selected for them. But they didn’t want them so they didn’t select for them, and modern setters are as thick as shit, because being thick as shit was the most successful trait.

That wasn’t stupidity, it was a cry for help. Just like the time he “stupidly” ate a whole bottle of painkillers, or “idiotically” tried to drink paint thinner. Poor Rusty; I hope he’s in a better place.

My vote goes to the deep-fried shrimp.

A guy I work with was at one of the Sydney parks that sits on top of a cliff at the ocean. He (and lots of others) saw a Red Setter “chasing seagulls” run straight over the edge of the cliff and plummet to it’s death. Everyone was shocked and horrified and he mentions it now and again as an indictment of the Setter’s intelligence.

But now I see what you mean. Everyone expects a Setter to die a Doggy Darwin Awards death, what a perfect cover for you know what.

You can find the dumbest ten breeds of dogs here: http://petrix.com/dogint/70-79.html

Useful when considering which type of puppy will go under the tree.

If you just want to get the best doggie IQ genes, go for the Border Collie. Looks the setters group toward the middle…

In one of the Life of Mammals series, David Attenbourgh remarks (official YouTube link - 23:00 mark) that the giant anteater has the lowest body temperature of any mammal and, as a result, rather slow and limited brain function.

I don’t know if it’s the stupidest but it probably has good claim to it and a biological reason for being especially dim.

You’ve been mixing with the wrong kind of sheep.

Back in May, I encountered a lamb on the road so I parked the car and got out to try and round it up. The beast ran away every time I approached it. Another motorist stopped to help. It took a full half hour before we managed to manoeuvre the little bastard through a hole in the hedge, from whence it trotted off to rejoin its mother.

Sheep may look mentally vacant, but behind that innocent facade lies a Machiavellian cunning.

My dad grew up on a farm, and he said the turkeys were so stupid they’d have to be herded indoors when it rained. First, because they were to dumb to go inside themselves, and second, because they’d look up to see what was falling on them and drown.

Any kind of bird. If you’ve ever been around chickens then you have probably marveled that they manage to survive. Do we not use the phrase “bird brain” to mean stupid?

No way, man. Those are brilliant!

As opposed to going outside? :smiley:

Birds. Especially cardinals. The brighter red, the more stupid. I’ve seen them out on the deck, pecking at sunflower seeds, going ‘chip…chip…’ when there is a hawk sitting on a fencepost and all the other birds have taken cover.

I don’t know that “dumbest” is what’s being measured here. From your link:

Lowest Degree of Working/Obedience Intelligence

Understanding of New Commands: 80 to 100 repetitions or more.

Obey First Command: 25% of the time or worse

A dog which is disinclined to obedience is not stupid. Why yes, we do have dogs of a breed featured in the list! Our basenjis don’t necessarily want to please us, but that doesn’t mean they’re not smart.