10 Smartest Animals On The Planet
Although the human intellect is remarkable, we are not the only species on the planet to develop intelligence. Cognitive thinking, learning behavior, adaptability, and communication through body language and even vocalization are shared by other members of the animal kingdom. Here are the 10 smartest animals on the planet – other than humans.
Dogs are as smart as a two-year-old human toddler, according to Live Science. They are extremely social beings and know when they’ve misbehaved. They can learn to understand 165 human words on average, with a few reaching the 250-word level. Some dogs have the ability to sense illness in humans, such as cancer, impending strokes or epileptic seizures, and other forms of distress.
One of our closest living relatives, chimpanzees (who in a group are called a troop) share much of the same DNA as humans. They are adept with tools (such as using stones to crack open nuts) and have been successfully taught to communicate with humans via sign language. A chimp named Washoe learned 350 words of American sign language and even taught some of these signs to her son.
These sinister looking creatures are actually very friendly and intelligent. They have photographic memories and love to steal and hoard objects. A group of crows is called a “murder” and are able to communicate with each other when danger is near.
These gentle giants have been known to use sticks or palm fronds to swat at flies and mosquitos. They are incredibly sensitive animals and even go to special locations (commonly known as elephant graveyards) away from their herds to die. Observers have witnessed elephants conveying compassion and love for one another and for their human counterparts.
Unlike their stereotypes of being lazy, unclean and slovenly, pigs are actually extremely intelligent and crafty. Pigs have been known to follow each other in the search for food and also devise ways to fool other pigs who might steal their food by following different paths to throw off their fellow pigs.
Dolphins also possess strong memory banks and are actually able to recognize themselves when they’re placed in front of a mirror. They use squeaks, trills and other vocalizations as well as visual cues to communicate with each other, and may actually be able to call each other by “name” by producing a signature whistle for individuals.
Sheep are sometimes thought of as dull “followers.” In reality, sheep are highly intelligent animals, and can identify humans’ facial expression as well as remember humans’ faces for life. A group of sheep is called a herd, a mob or a flock.
Whether they’re macaws, cockatiels or other species, parrots are highly sociable and love human interaction. If they see their humans arguing or being affectionate with another human being, they can become aggressively protective to the point of attacking the person physically.
As with sheep, the stereotype of a cow is that of a simple animal who pretty much sleeps and eats all the time. You’ll drop that stereotype once you Google “crying cow” to see that these gentle animals can feel fear, panic, loss and anxiety.
In an intelligence experiment, dairy cows were able to successfully navigate a maze by following sound, and have also been shown to be able to recognize their friends.
Horses display cognitive thinking and have great memory. Lipizzaner stallions, for example, can walk and “dance” in very intricate patterns. In one study, horses were shown to be able to identify different shapes and sizes by tapping a touch-screen monitor with their noses.
Be mindful about teasing a horse with a carrot: if he decides to retaliate, what’s a minor head bump to him could land you in the hospital with a concussion. Who’s the smarter one now?