In order to discuss facts about intelligent animals we must first define what we consider to be signs of intelligence. The definition is a matter of debate where
scientist are not in agreement. In the below list you will find some of the interesting traits that most scientist believe define intelligence. This is followed by a
list of the smartest species and facts about them that make us believe they have superior intelligence. This information is written for both kids and adults.
The ability to learn and remember (obtain knowledge) through experience, study, or instruction
The ability to plan actions
Abstract thought (the ability to understand concepts and generalizations)
Understanding (comprehension) of complex problems or situations
The ability to communicate (the ability to give and receive information)
Reasoning (the ability to make sense out of things)
List of Intelligent Animals
Scientists are fascinated with these amazing animals. These close relatives of humans have many of the traits that prove intelligence. They use tools like sticks to
put into termite mounds to gather termites to eat. They also use rocks to smash open nuts. These smart animals can also learn sign language and teach it to other
members of their species.
Perhaps surprising to many people is the fact that the Octopus is a smart animal. Test have shown that they can solve problems like finding their way through a maze
opening a jar to get to food. Their brains are large and very well organized.
Many scientist believe Dolphins are the second smartest animals on the earth; second only to humans. They learn complex things quickly; for example Dolphin society is
very complex and these animals must learn the rules and how the group functions. They use tools and have a complex language of whistle sounds. One incredible example
of intelligence was exhibited by a Dolphin at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Mississippi. This Dolphin was rewarded a fish for every piece of trash it
retrieved from its pool. The intelligent creature would take large pieces of trash it found and rip them into smaller pieces before trading them in for the reward. A
great example of understanding and planning actions.
Elephants exhibit many of the intelligence traits listed above including the use of tools, the ability to learn, self-awareness, and a great memory. There have been
numerous examples of elephants appearing to remember people or other elephants they had not seen in years.
Crows have shown remarkable intelligence in numerous scientific tests and in observations of them in the wild. They have been seen using bread crumbs as bait for
fishing. They have also been seen making tools that act as knives out of stiff leaves and grass stalks.
These animals can be trained to do numerous difficult tasks and have an excellent memory. In a test done in the 1990s on pig intelligence it was shown that they could
remember scribbles that they were shown earlier and pick those scribbles over ones they had never seen before.