Hands down, homo sapiens (that’s us) are the smartest animals in the world. We have been able to explore outer space and the depth of the deep blue sea. We have climbed the highest mountains and observed the tiniest particles. We have also built some of the deadliest weapons and destroyed the environment, which makes one wonder if we are indeed the smartest in the world. But that’s another story.
But after man, which animals come in as the most intelligent. A lot would like to think it is the dog because of its extreme loyalty and because it provides companionship to man. But some animals actually possess intelligence that leaves mankind amazed. Here is a list of the top 10 smartest animals in the world.
These animals have their own societies and community. Just like man, the relationships within the community of raccoons are quite complicated. Raccoons possess dexterous hands and thumbs that allow them to utilize tools and solve problems. They are brave and extremely confident animals that are always in control of what they are doing. They are also fiercely loyal family members.
They are supposed to live only in the woodlands, but a squirrel’s intelligence allows them to adapt to any new surrounding. They have the ability to learn from their mistakes, which is why it is almost impossible to catch all of them because once they learn of the location and smell of your traps, they will cleverly avoid them. We may view them as annoying little creatures, but the bottom lines are that squirrels are cunning, determined and just plain stubborn.
Michael Jackson once sang about a rat that he begs for people to understand. They are disgusting and annoying little rodents, but they are actually quite similar to man. I mean, why else do you think scientists use them for laboratory experiments. They possess metacognition, an ability that man and other primates have. They use their senses keenly to detect bombs, landmines and even the bacteria that can cause tuberculosis. They also have emotions, like stress, excitement and remorse.
The movie “Babe” made us all fall in love with pigs. Pigs are actually smart animals. And despite popular notion, pigs are one of the cleanest animals around if they are given a choice. If you provide them with enough space, they will make sure to defecate in an area far from its dining and living spaces. Studies have also shown that they can actually be good in video games. Also, pigs have complex and amazing social lives. Do you know that mother pigs actually sing to the offspring while the latter are sucking and nursing? Pigs can also be tricky and sneaky little bastards. To get food, they will follow other pigs and then steal it from right under their noses. The victimized pigs will then come out wiser from it and will change their behavior so that they won’t be followed around too much and so that they will be prepared next time some other pig tries to steal from them.
6. African Gray Parrot
We all know how parrots can imitate and, well, parrot our every word. But none is as good as the African gray parrot. Experts say that this sociable, loving and intelligent animal actually has the intelligence equivalent to a five-year-old kid. African Gray Parrots have the ability to identify up to 50 various objects and recognize quantities up to six. They can also learn comparative concepts, as in which objects are bigger, smaller, similar and different. They can also recognize up to five shapes and seven colors. The most amazing thing is not just the fact that they have a vocabulary of up to 150 words, but that they actually know how to communicate and use the words properly. If they sense that you feel disappointed or annoyed, African Gray Parrots would say, “I’m sorry.”
They are smart and creative, with the highest IQ among all birds. They can be taught how to speak the human language, they can count, they can distinguish different complex shapes and they can also learn by observation. Crows have been known to throw nuts and shells along the road so that cars will drive through it and pop open the shells, allowing the animal to devour the contents. They also have the ability to build knives to cut leaves and grass. They have also been seen to grab wires so that they can use them as hooks to get prey out of its hiding places. They can also steal food, with some acting as decoys and lookouts.
They have extremely large brains, even bigger than man’s when scaled to size. They are capable of altruism, sacrificing themselves for the betterment of the rest of the herd. They bury their dead properly, the only other animal to do besides man. They also know which leaves are medicinal and will chew on specific plants depending on the sickness they are feeling. They also have the ability to recognize themselves in the mirror.
Chimpanzees share practically the same DNA as humans, so this should not come as a surprise. They also have a better memory than any other animal in the world. They know how to utilize tools and they can communicate well with humans through sign language. They know how to attack their prey, utilizing complex flanking movements. They can even mentally manipulate other chimpanzees.
2. Bottlenose Dolphin
They actually have the ability to watch television on their own because of their ability to process acoustic and visual information at the same time. They can also recognize themselves in the mirror, which they use to inspect their own bodies. Their comprehension skills are way advanced and these animals understand numerical concepts as well. Studies have shown that they even have the ability to choose the “I don’t know” option during difficult tests.
When orangutans were taught how to use tools, experts initially chalked it up to routine training that other animals can also do. But when they were released to the wild, the orangutans started building a similar structure to protect themselves during the rain. The ability to understand the why, and not just the how and what, makes the orangutan the smartest animal in the world.