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!
Crows are considered to be the smartest birds of all. They top the avian IQ scale and not just because they, like parrots, can be taught speech. They can count, differentiate between complex shapes, and also carry out observational learning tasks. The New Caledonian Crow has been found to create knives to cut leaves and stalks of grass, as well as hooks out of stray bits of wire, which they use to fish grubs out of hiding places.
Crows throw clams, nuts, shells on the roads and wait for passing cars to run over them. This helps break the hard shells, and the crow can enjoy its delicious treat inside. Creative thinking is hallmark of intelligence, but these birds also form complex social behaviors and have been observed acting in concert to perform complex tasks such as theft, employing lookouts and decoys.
African Grey Parrot
African Grey Parrots are extremely sociable, loving, and intelligent animals. They are capable of learning hundreds of human words and sounds, which can be used in their proper contexts. Some researchers say that African Grey Parrots have intelligence equivalent to that of a five-year-old child. The most famous African Grey was probably Alex (1976 - 2007) who was the subject of a thirty-year (1977-2007) experiment by animal psychologist Irene Pepperberg.
By the end of his life, he could identify fifty different objects and recognize quantities up to six; he could distinguish seven colors and five shapes, and understand the concepts of "bigger," "smaller," "same," and "different," and that he was learning "over" and "under." Alex had a memorized vocabulary of about 150 words, but what was exceptional was that he used these words to actually communicate what he wanted. For example, when he was tired of being tested, he would say "I'm gonna go away", and if the researcher displayed annoyance, Alex tried to defuse it with the phrase, "I'm sorry."
PigPigs have long been considered to be smarter than dogs. Ironically, it is also one of the cleanest animals around. A pig will refuse to defecate anywhere near the area where he lives and eats when he is given a choice. You can train a pig just like a dog or cat, but what makes their intelligence remarkable is the complex social lives that behaviorists once believed to be the purview of primates. Mother pigs have been found to sing to their piglets while they are nursing. They excel at video games that would be hard for a young child, and sometimes better than the primates.
Also, like primates and other smart animals, they learn from watching one another, often working to outsmart each other. One pig will often follow another pig to food before grabbing it away from him, and the pig who was tricked will change behaviors to reduce how many times it is tricked.
The much-maligned rat. You may find them as the most disgusting rodents on the planet, but their psychology is similar to humans and is one of the reasons they are mostly used for lab experiments. Rats possess a mental ability called metacognition that is seen only in humans and some primates. They can use their keen sense of smell and hearing to detect landmines and bombs.
They can even identify human sputum samples containing tuberculosis bacteria. Rats show signs of excitement, loss, stress and even remorse.