Some of them may be more intelligent than humans.
Numerous creatures, such as rats, dolphins, elephants, and pigs, all claim the title of “smartest animals in the world.” However, there is still no definite answer.
The predicament stems from the fact that scientists have yet to come to a consensus on what constitutes intelligence and the metrics by which it should be measured. Brain size, the ability to execute complicated mathematical computations, well-developed social abilities that facilitate collaborative problem-solving, the skill to adapt to swiftly shifting environments and navigate intricate mazes, as well as language proficiency are all conceivable yardsticks.
Nevertheless, some animals match or even surpass humans in certain intellectual activities.
7 Smartest Animals in The World
A few years back, a chimpanzee named Ayumu outperformed Japanese students, a nation known for perseverance and meticulousness in learning, on a memory test.
Taking a fleeting glance at the screen, lasting only 210 milliseconds (faster than blinking), Ayumu memorized the sequence of numbers depicted on it. And when they were covered with white squares, he unmistakably restored them in the correct order.
Interestingly, the students were not able to surpass Ayumu even after extensive training.
Let’s say Ayumu is a genius. But other chimpanzees are also very intelligent. So, it has long been known that these primates are able to communicate using sign language. They are also able to use improvised objects as tools. For example, they make spears from sticks for hunting other mammals.
These giants have the largest brain and, consequently, the largest number of neurons among land animals. If intelligence were related to brain size (which it is not), elephants would be undisputed champions of intelligence.
In addition, elephants have impressive cognitive abilities. For example, these giants confidently and in great detail remember their fellow tribesmen, human faces, and events even after decades. They can also track the location of several relatives at the same time.
Elephants are also among the rare animals that can recognize themselves in the mirror. They have self-awareness, an understanding of who they are and how they look (babies up to a year and a half are deprived of this quality). These mammals can collaborate with each other to solve life problems. And they love to play, indicating high intelligence.
Dolphins have more convolutions than humans. Theoretically, this means that the brains of these animals can store and process more information than the average human. How it works in practice is not entirely clear. But dolphins do display many intelligent traits.
These mammals recognize themselves in the mirror and are aware of their position in society: they clearly understand who they are, what group they belong to, and have an understanding of subordination. They empathize with their packmates: they cheer up those who are sad or sick, and have fun with those who are happy.
And dolphins are also able to masterfully imitate – for example, they accurately copy the movements of a human trainer. And this is not an easy skill, requiring serious intellectual effort, which these mammals are apparently capable of.
Common crows, along with jays, are the most intelligent birds. But, birds can demonstrate more advanced ingenuity than mammals.
Thus, the New Caledonian crows living in the Pacific region of France can establish and realize causal relationships no worse than children aged 5–7 do.
In a series of experiments, these birds demonstrated how to use Archimedes’ principle. They threw stones into a vessel of water so that it rose and made it possible to grab a piece of food floating on the surface.
In Chinese culture, rats are respected for their resourcefulness and cunning. And laboratory experiments confirm these qualities: rodents easily find their way out of the most intricate labyrinths and solve complex logic puzzles to get to the coveted piece of food.
Some researchers are so impressed with the talents of naked tails that they declare rats are sometimes smarter than humans. For example, tests were carried out where it was required to generalize previously received information and, based on this, conclude whether a new object is “bad” or “good”. In these tests, rats showed better results than student volunteers.
Rats can also express emotions and recognize them in relatives, showing sympathy. And if necessary, they can easily learn mathematical counting skills.
Researchers compare their intelligence with that of a two-year-old child. This conclusion was made based on vocabulary: the average dog knows 165 words and concepts, and the smartest dogs know up to 250, while the vocabulary of a healthy child starts with 50 words.
In many ways, dogs are more human-like than other animal species, including some primates, according to researchers.
When it comes to arithmetic, dogs are even more advanced. They can count up to 4-5 and perform calculations within these limits. Children acquire such skills only at the age of 3-4 years.
Their intelligence is difficult to study because cats are too independent and participate in experiments only when they are in the mood. But this independence itself can be a sign of an extraordinary mind.
According to experts, cats have twice as many neurons in their cerebral cortex as dogs. This means that cats have more opportunities for processing and storing information. In addition, their famous curiosity may indicate a high level of intelligence.
Cats are so smart that they seem to share their intelligence with their owners. Researchers from the University of Bristol (England) found that cat owners are more likely to have an academic degree or a high professional qualification than dog lovers. Although this statistical pattern may have other deeper and not fully understood reasons. Or perhaps it’s just a coincidence.
But it’s still worth getting a cat. Not necessarily for intelligence, but for other health benefits. However, that is a completely different story.