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Friday, 11 March 2016

8 Most Intelligent Animals

A selection of the smartest creatures known to man

Pictures from sources listed below.

This week, it was reported that orangutans are fast learners when it comes to digital games. It's fascinating to think that the animal kingdom is filled with all kinds of intelligence, from cerebral cephalopods to crafty crows! In this week's blog post, we explore animal intelligence with our list of the 8 Most Intelligent Animals.

1. Octopus.The braininess of the octopus is well documented. Amazingly these creatures can navigate mazes, open jars, escape through gaps barely bigger than the size of their eyeball and communicate with each other using colours and patterns.

2. Pigs. It's quite surprising to hear that pigs have proved smarter than cats and dogs according to experts. In a 1990s experiment they operated a cursor on a video screen (with their snouts!) to tell apart things they knew from things they didn't. They learned how to do this just as quickly chimpanzees! They are social animals with 20 different vocal sounds that even the newborn piglet can understand.

3. Ants. Not just creepy crawly creatures, ants present complexity rarely seen outside of human civilisation. For example, they are farmers - they cultivate fungus in leaves to eat. Their colonies have different areas for farming and collecting food. They are team players, working in incredibly large, coordinated colonies.

4. Crows. Crows are self-aware animals that demonstrate the ability to not only use tools, but also create their own - such as fashioning hooks out of wire to retrieve food!

5. Squirrels. Squirrels are stunningly determined when it comes to one thing - food! They are well known for doing whatever it takes to get to their next meal, whether its dodging traffic or approaching people in parks. They're creative at storing food too - they pretend to bury food in places to trick scavengers from getting to their real stash.

6. Dogs. Dogs have well and truly earned the title of "man's best friend" over the years - not only are they loyal to their human owners, and able to be trained in supportive roles such as guide dogs and police dogs, but they can also pick up on human emotions and respond appropriately. When you're happy, they're happy right there with you!

7. Dolphins. Dolphins have brains among the largest in the animal kingdom. They are advanced problem solvers and communicate with whistles and clicks. They are self-aware (they recognise themselves in the mirror) and, amazingly, can express emotions such as joy with laughter.

8. Chimpanzees. We share nearly 99 percent of our DNA with chimps, and it really shows in their behaviour. They are self-aware, capable of empathy, can create tools and have even performed better than people in memory tests!

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