Humans have a propensity to take our place at the top of the food chain for granted. We never stop to think about what makes us the most intelligent animals on the earth, yet we take it for granted that humans are. Is it our capacity for planning, our use of tools, the permanence of objects, or the development of intricate social networks? Some of those characteristics are shared by other animal species, and some show all of them. Check out which animals made the list of smartest among their peers!
Rats have been used by scientists as laboratory study animals for many years, and this is not a coincidence. The brain structure and how their minds work are very similar to humans, despite the fact that their brains are little and somewhat underdeveloped. They are able to navigate mazes, memorize directions, and carry out challenging multi-step tasks.
Rats are sociable creatures as well. They start to display symptoms of depression and loneliness when left alone. Because of these psychological and social variations, rats are among the most intelligent creatures.
Oddly, pigeons, who are next on our list, are sometimes referred to as “flying rats.” Yet, the justifications for their placement here varied greatly. Pigeons have demonstrated the ability to recognize their own reflection, demonstrating a sophisticated level of self-awareness. They have the capacity to remember individual people and locations over the course of months or even years. Pigeons have been used to deliver messages over enormous distances for millennia precisely because of this memory. Pigeons are able to distinguish every letter in the English alphabet, as well as the differences between two humans in photos.
Similar to pigeons, crows are another extremely intelligent animal species that have served as messengers. When engaged in conflict with other animals, they are able to use complex group tactics such flanking moves. Crows have a strong memory and can even learn to speak. Crows have been observed changing their migration routes to avoid hazardous places, according to researchers. Crows have even been observed memorizing garbage routes and schedules in an effort to more successfully steal a fast snack from the trucks! Crows are the avian species with the greatest brains, and they have demonstrated the ability to identify human faces.
When it came to our selection of the ten smartest animals, pigs only barely beat out dogs. Pigs have an IQ level far greater than that of dogs, which is comparable to that of a young child. At only six weeks old, they can comprehend the idea of reflection, but human infants cannot do so until they are several months old.
Pigs can communicate with one another using about 20 different sounds, and mothers sing to their young ones as they eat. Pigs react to emotion and, when appropriate, even display empathy, which is a very uncommon quality in the animal kingdom. This article contains further information about pigs.
Our ranking of the most intelligent animals in the world surely includes the octopus. You might be wondering how smart an octopus is considering it’s the only one of its kind featured here. Captive octopuses have been recorded using high-order planning and several stages to escape from confinement, and some are able to purposely splash water repeatedly upon items even outside of their tank to do damage. They have even been known to toss rocks at glass and open jars with screw-on lids.
These cephalopods are quite intelligent! They pose as boulders in the nature so they can move undetected. Octopuses move very slowly while imitating rocks, giving the impression that they are stationary by keeping pace with the water. When predators are present, they can move around unnoticed because of this.
African Grey Parrots
The African grey parrot tops this list of the smartest creatures among birds. These parrots can acquire human speech and have an extremely broad vocabulary. They are thought to be as intelligent as a five-year-old human (up to hundreds of words). Moreover, African greys are capable of learning the links between bigger and smaller, different and similar, over and under, and recognize and distinguish shapes and colors.
In this list of the smartest animals, our closest genetic related comes in third. Chimpanzees originate from sub-Saharan Africa and share 98 percent of our DNA. Chimpanzees are skilled tool users, and it has been observed that they improvise tools from accessible materials to create the things they require. These big apes also employ psychological strategies; they will influence members of their own families to carry out particular activities.
One unusual aspect about chimpanzees is that adults from a family unit were found to be teaching their children sign language. The most intriguing aspect of that revelation is that there was no human assistance or encouragement at all; the chimpanzees taught the kids sign language on their own initiative and were using it to communicate among the group. Further information about chimpanzees can be found here.
The origin of orangutans in this area is quite intriguing. The orangutan is able to utilize tools, acquire sign language, and have intricate social systems with rituals, just like chimpanzees. Their cognitive capacity to comprehend the “why,” or the logic, underlying a certain behavior is what really distinguishes them. An orangutan has learnt how to use tools and put together a straightforward structure while in captivity. When scientists freed him into the wild, they saw the same orangutan making his own tools out of everything he could find and building a similar house to protect himself from the rain.
Given that almost 97 percent of their DNA is similar to that of humans, it is not surprising that orangutans are extremely intelligent.