10 of the World's Smartest Animals

Elephants are known for being one of the world's most emotionally intelligent animals.
Elephants are known for being one of the world's most emotionally intelligent animals.

Animal intelligence can be manifested in different areas like, social learning, self-recognition in mirror, numerical skills, and cooperation. Here we present some of the smartest species on earth, in no particular order.

10. Bottlenose Dolphins

Bottlenose Dolphins are so intelligent that they can be trained to execute complex tricks. They have separate personalities and a strong concept of self. It is even believed that bottlenose dolphins can think about the future. These dolphins communicate with each other through a system of whistling.

9. African Grey Parrots

African Grey Parrots are not only popular pets, but also one of the most intelligent. They can learn human words and use them to communicate with their human owners. They have understanding of shapes, numbers and colors. Their intelligence is compared to that of a four-year-old human child.

8. Whales

Like dolphins, whales also belong to the Cetaceans group of aquatic mammals. Therefore, they both share same intelligence traits. The sperm whale has the largest brain of all animals. Moreover, humpback whales, fin whales, killer whales and sperm whales have spindle cells in their brains, which suggest possibility of high intelligence.

7. Pigs

There are many reasons for pigs to be classified among the world's smartest of animals. A newly born piglet can run to its mother’s voice. Pigs have good long-term memory. They apparently communicate using more than twenty different vocalizations. Pigs are social animals and they love to play with each other. Studies have shown that, like humans, pigs dream too.

6. Chimpanzees

Chimpanzees originated from the same ancestors as humans. Therefore, it is no surprise that they are one of the smartest animals on the planet. They can learn words, have a concept of self, play with objects and can utilize tools. They also seem to mourn deaths of their near and dears. Chimpanzees can communicate with each other through a system of vocalizations, gestures and facial expressions.

5. Rats

Social structures of common rats resemble that of humans. They easily become attached to one another and to their human owners. Rats excel in learning and possess good memory. Rats are able to count and keep time in their heads, and also communicate with each other by high-frequency sound.

4. Dogs

The intelligence of dogs varies widely across breeds. However, one can safely say that an average dog has mental abilities similar to that of a two-year-old human child. Dogs can learn words, gestures and basic arithmetic. They are empathetic and show basic emotions. It appears that a dog prefers to spend time with humans rather than with other dogs.

3. Pigeons

A pigeon can recognize its image in a mirror. They can identify all twenty six letters of the English language. They can find their way home from many miles away. Pigeons have been used for ages to carry messages, even in World Wars they were used by the US army as messengers.

2. Octopuses

The octopus is so intelligent that it can devise ways to escape fish tank captivity. Their brain is larger than any other invertebrate (no backbone creatures). Scientists claim that an octopus can steer its way through a maze. They can solve problems and remember their solutions for a short term.

1. Elephants

One of the ways elephant intelligence is shown is when a pregnant elephant eats tree-leaves from Boraginaceae plant family to induce herself with labour. Elephants can mimic sound, use tools and recognize themselves in mirror. They are emotional and social animals. They mourn their dead. Elephants have excellent long-term memory.


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