Animals can’t recite Pi to 24 decimal places and they probably can’t speak fluent Greek, but they are incredibly intelligent in their own ways. If you’ve ever wondered which animals are almost as smart as people (or even smarter) we have the answers for you.
Whales are mostly known for being huge creatures, and that’s about it. However, it turns out they have a huge intellect as well. Whales use their incredible brains to create complex vocal communications between each other to enable them to coordinate their group activity and allow them to fish effectively. Whales have also been dubbed as keen problem solvers and have shown huge empathy during testing. Wild Orca Whales in Patagonia once helped to feed a member of their pod for a year after it damaged its jaw. Aww, now that’s hashtag friendship goals.
Polly wants a…Mensa certificate? Parrots are most known for their ability to mimic other sounds, but this in itself is an incredible feat for such a small bird. Parrots have been shown to have an incredibly logical mind, and a test using an African Gray Parrot has shown that this bird has similar logical reasoning skills and intelligence as a four-year-old human. In this study, Awisa the Parrot used reason and judgment to work out where the tester had hidden a bit of food – the first non-primates to be able to understand and solve this kind of problem. Go, Parrots! Go, Awisa!
Although they may seem incredibly cute and cuddly, turning their bellies over for their visitors to rub, Dolphins are notoriously smart. They are said to have the biggest brains in the animal kingdom in terms of body-to-brain ratio, and, like whales, they have an incredible ability to use communication skills that are highly advanced. It is also thought that dolphins are one of the first self-aware animals, and a study has concluded that they are able to recognize themselves in a mirror. Some days, even we struggle to do that.
As well as having a huge brain, elephants also have a large amount of neurons in their brains – three times as many as humans. Although a lot of these are used to control their impressive body size, they have also demonstrated that these neurons affect their intellectual ability. Elephants have proven that they have incredible communication skills, can show empathy, and even paint pretty pictures using an easel, paints and a paintbrush. Elephant artwork, anyone?
Chimps, orangutans and gorillas
Come on; we’ve all seen Planet of the Apes, we know they’re smart. But chimps, orangutans, and gorillas are notorious for being similar to humans, not just in looks but also in brain structure. Their ability to utilize tools and objects around them to their advantage is a major intellectual phenomenon in the animal kingdom. There has been lots of research regarding Apes’ intellectual abilities, and perhaps the most famous was Koko, a Gorilla who managed to master human sign language and communicate with the humans around her.