What Is the #1 Smartest Animal? Top 7 Smarties from the Animal World

FEB 06, 2023 AT 02:19 PM

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It's astounding to learn what many animals are capable of. We typically assume that animals live rather simple lives. Many intelligent animals in the animal kingdom would outsmart even the most intelligent humans at certain tasks if given the opportunity. Evolution has honed some animal skills to truly mind-blowing levels. 

Read on to learn more about the smartest animals in the world. Spoiler alert: chimps are first on the list. It is simple to spot the classic human intelligence indicators in higher primates. We can observe their communication and use of tools. However, various non-primate animals also have been discovered to exhibit intelligence-related features. Which ones? 

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Here are the top seven most intelligent animals in the world

1. Chimpanzees

Chimpanzees, thought to be the smartest animals in the world, can change their habitat and surroundings to benefit themselves and their society. These great apes are highly sociable and self-aware creatures. They can learn vocal languages and have been known to express grief at losing loved ones. How touching! 

On the more practical side of life, chimps can create and use tools. They have been observed using grass straws to lure insects out of their hiding place. 

Additionally, like humans, their intelligence is influenced by hereditary and environmental variables.

In addition to using symbols to represent different objects and construct languages, chimpanzees can identify themselves in a mirror. Not only do they have the mental capacity to be taught sign language, but they can also communicate with people using it. Scientists are still learning about what chimpanzees are capable of. 

2. Dolphins

Most people know that dolphins rank high on the list of the planet’s most intelligent animals. They have a strong capacity for imitation and learning. In addition, they have a high level of self-awareness and can recognize themselves in reflections. Researchers are still analyzing their sophisticated communication abilities.

Dolphins can comprehend abstract difficulties thanks to their sophisticated problem-solving brains. They are frequently observed using language to communicate, engaging in social interactions, and even making future plans.

Dolphins can maintain a sophisticated social structure, understand human relationships, and pass on challenging tasks learned by humans to other dolphins. They can hunt and navigate in murky water thanks to their echolocation ability. 

The U.S. Navy reportedly used them to locate mines and connect explosive or listening devices to enemy warships due to their extraordinary underwater detection ability, while animal rights organizations are against this practice. You know you are doing something right if the military needs your help. 

Dolphins display their brilliance in multiple ways. The complicated games they play, tool use, cooperative hunting, and participation in intricate social networks. According to research, dolphins can recall and recognize one another for up to 20 years and maybe for the rest of their lives.

A shocking fact about dolphins - they engage in surplus killing. This is a practice where an animal prey on another without intending to eat it. This behavior is only observed in top predators like lions, spotted hyenas, leopards, and humans. 

3. Octopuses

The most intelligent invertebrates are octopuses. An octopus's brain is intricate, exhibiting similarities to human brains in terms of folding lobes and brainwave patterns. Octopuses are expert puzzle solvers and issue solvers. There are numerous accounts of octopuses opening jars from the inside and out, escaping from prisons, and resolving rather challenging spatial puzzles.

They disassemble stuff and find their way through mazes. They also play. If that doesn’t sound very smart, you may be shocked to learn that play is an indicator of intelligence. It indicates intelligence by demonstrating how efficiently an animal can assimilate and integrate with its surroundings.

They have frequently been observed wielding tools, moving around on stilts, devising complex defense systems, pulling pranks, and identifying human faces. The ability to create habitats, tools, and armor out of coconut shells should be included on their resume. 

There seems to be no end to what octopuses are capable of. They have been observed swimming into a neighboring tank to eat a fish before returning to their tank. Some manage to flee from their tanks and swim back to boundless freedom in the ocean’s depths. 

4. Elephants

Elephants are the perfect example of not judging a book by its cover. They were originally thought to be rather sluggish and stupid, but their intelligence eventually shone through. 

Scientists discovered that elephants do not suffer any memory loss their entire lives. The memories of these pachyderms are astounding. An animal superpower that we humans could certainly use. 

Elephants are not merely strong bodies; they possess the intelligence to identify long-lost buddies. In contrast to many animals with a strong prey drive, they exhibit a great deal of empathy. They are also sociable and sensitive, frequently cooperating to resolve issues within their herd.

Elephants are thought to have almost psychic abilities that sense whether someone is kind or potentially terrible. Even more astounding, they can recall hundreds of kilometers' worth of watering hole routes—a lifesaving skill when your habitat is the harsh savannah. On the Indian subcontinent, elephants have been trained to perform challenging tasks and impressive tricks. 

In nature, they use branches for many things - scratching their backs, slapping insects away, and using them as weapons when they feel threatened. Additionally, they have long-carried branches to utilize at a later time.

Elephants can learn a wide range of challenging tasks, but their self-awareness, the capacity to recognize oneself in a mirror, is a classic sign of intelligence. Man’s best friend - the dog, is known to mistake its reflection for another creature and frequently attacks it. 

5. Pigs

Pigs rarely get the credit for how smart they are. They can quickly find their way through mazes, recognize emotions, pick up sign language, and even have the best pals they prefer to hang out with.

Piglets are more intelligent than baby humans, believe it or not! These infants develop self-awareness more quickly than newborns. While it takes human babies several months to learn their names, baby pigs can do this in two weeks, whereas humans require a few months.

Pigs can play video games with a joystick because they can comprehend abstract representations. They are quite sociable and have a great memory. They have been found to have a very advanced cognitive system, and they are skilled at problem-solving and spatial learning.

A normal middle-aged pig has been shown via extensive research to have the IQ of a three-year-old human. They can decipher symbolic languages and solve mazes. Like dogs, they can recall cause-and-effect connections and have high spatial awareness.

Piglets as young as six weeks old can locate food when they see it in a mirror. On the other hand, human babies take several months to comprehend reflection. In reality, their perception of direction impacts their capacity to recall events that occurred in specific locations, especially when finding or obtaining food.

6. Raccoons

Raccoons are skilled lock pickers who can quickly spot rotated or relocated objects! They are sometimes called "Trash Pandas" and have amazing memories, recalling puzzle answers for as long as three years.

Raccoons are regarded to be more intelligent than dogs and even young children because they learn more quickly than other animals. They have a great capacity for changing their behavior and picking up new skills. It has been seen that raccoons use tools, clean their food, and communicate vocally.

7. Pigeons

Contrary to popular belief, pigeons do not have "bird brains." They have a high level of intelligence and can think, reason, and recall information. According to research, pigeons can hold almost 700 images in their brains at once. Not bad for a bird!

Before the invention of electronics, the military employed pigeons to transport communications between posts due to their keen sense of direction. Generals knew they could count on pigeons to deliver sensitive messages on time and without fail.