Accurately understanding the level of intelligence of an animal is a very difficult task and requires a lot of research. To this day, we don’t fully understand the extent to which dogs understand us or how the chimpanzee brain works. But there are some species that are known to have a cleverness beyond the ordinary. Check out what they are:
Despite having small brains, rats’ minds work in a similar way to humans. They have the ability to discover mazes, memorize paths and perform complex multi-step tasks. They are also social animals, when left alone they begin to show signs of depression and loneliness.
Pigeons have been proven to have the ability to recognize their own reflection, showing a complex sense of self-awareness. They can also recognize specific people and places over months and even years. No wonder they were used as messengers for a long time.
Crows have the largest brain among birds and can recognize human faces, so they were also used as messengers. The animal is still able to learn to speak and memorize paths and schedules.
Some pigs can recognize their own reflection as young as six weeks old – human children take several months to understand the concept of reflection. They also have approximately 20 different sounds to communicate with and can respond to emotions.
Captive octopuses have been observed using complex arrangements to escape and using water to damage objects outside the tank. There are even those who are ‘seers’ like the octopus Paul, who correctly predicted the results of 8 games of the 2010 Football World Cup.
5. Gray Parrot
The African Gray Parrot not only learns human speech, it can master a vocabulary of hundreds of words. In addition, the species understands spatial reasoning, recognizes and identifies shapes and colors, and can even learn the relationships between larger and smaller, different and similar, above and below.
Elephants have a complicated social structure and have been witnessed participating in funeral rites for deceased members of the herd. These animals also use tools and medicate themselves by eating the leaves of certain plants to cure diseases and even induce childbirth.
Our closest genetic relative – it shares 98% of its DNA with humans – is an expert user of improvised tools. Great apes can also influence others in their family to do some task.
In addition to being easily trainable, bottlenose dolphins are able to recognize themselves in mirrors, notice unfamiliar marks on their body from reflection, identify images on television, and have an impressive memory. They are known to have a language specific to their species that switches to a “common language” to communicate with other types of dolphins.
Like chimpanzees, the orangutan is capable of using tools, learning sign language and having complex social structures that involve rituals. What really sets them apart is the ability to understand why a certain action is taken.
In captivity, an orangutan learned the use of tools and the process of building a simple structure; when it was released into the wild, the researchers observed that the same animal repeated what it had learned, creating a similar structure to shelter itself from the rain.