List of the world's smartest animals, in order of their animal intelligence ranking. When putting this list of the smartest animals in the world together, I had to give myself criteria to follow. A complex brain is not a factor so much as the ability to use creative thinking. Sure, these are my own standards, and some might complain that this list is decidedly anthropomorphic– seeing as how I'm judging these smart animals by obvious human criteria.
For example, why should creative thinking mean one animal is smarter than another animal that can remember the location of 2,200 individual nuts it buried over 2 years? That's just how I decided to do it. To me, creative thinking makes an animal smart, not memorization. I couldn't limit myself to a list of just the top 10 smartest animals because that would have eliminated some incredibly smart and creative creatures.What is the smartest animal in the world? Check out this list of nerdy mammals to find out which of our pets will ultimately rule the planet when humans go extinct!
Orangutans are now considered to be the smartest of the primates, over chimps. Orangutans have been taught to saw wood, use a hammer to nail structures together and even siphon liquids through a hose. But while that could be simply marked up to rote training, what makes the orangutan smart is its ability to understand why we complete these actions and use them in the wild when they might be helpful. For example, an orangutan was taught how to build a simple protective structure using tools available in the wild. When released from captivity, the orangutan was observed building the same structure to get out of the rain.
Bottlenose dolphins possess advanced language comprehension skills, making them able to understand signed gestures, generalized words like "ball," and can also refer to sets of objects with similar characteristics. They get numerical concepts, and they're able to understand and react to questions about objects outside of their immediate vicinity. They process information received both acoustically and visually, allowing them to recognize scenes presented on a television screen (something chimps must be trained to do).
Dolphins understand pointing (like dogs)– something else chimps have a hard time with. Considering dolphins don't have arms, this ability is perhaps all the more amazing. Dolphins also seem to demonstrate self-awareness by using mirrors to recognize and inspect marks placed inconspicuously on their bodies (like elephants).
Dolphins demonstrate problem solving and tool-use by picking up the habit of swimming with sea sponges on their snouts, which armor them against the prick of spiny fish. In one study, Bottlenose dolphins were found capable of choosing an "I don't know" option during a difficult test. When the dolphins selected that option, they were likely considering their own thought process. This indicates the cognitive concept known as metacognition, which some consider an indicator of self-awareness and higher consciousness.
Chimpanzees learn, perform cognitive and creative tasks, and have a better memory than any other animal. They can perform sign language to communicate with humans. Chimps have been observed using advanced knowledge of tools– building what they need from what they have in creative and adaptive ways. They have shown ability in thinking ahead by using tactical attack maneuvers, such as flanking their prey. They often use mental manipulation within their families. In 2006, it was shown that chimps share 98% of the same genetic DNA as humans. Recently, chimpanzees have been seen teaching sign language to their infants without human interference.
Elephants are incredibly intelligent. They have incredibly large brains, even when compared to scale with human brains, the elephant brain dwarfs the brains of most other mammals. They have created some of the most complicated social structures in the animal kingdom. One indication of intelligence is altruism, or an animal's sacrifice for the good of the whole herd. Elephants are famous for their altruism in protecting their young, and this is only one of the many characteristics that make them amazingly intelligent. Elephants have been known to medicate themselves when sick by chewing the leaves of specific trees depending on their illness. They also bury their dead in a ritualistic way, the only other species on Earth to do so besides humans. Elephants are also very playful, which helps them to develop dexterity and special reasoning. Their nimble trunks can be used to manipulate tools, including paintbrushes, which elephants have been trained to use in creating remarkable pieces of art. They can recognize themselves in mirrors, and, when marked, can immediately see something new has been added to their visage. That cognitive ability, the ability to have enough of a sense of self to recognize a reflection AND to be able to recognize that reflection as being them, is the sign of true intelligence.
The video here is amazing... just watch it...