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10 Most Intelligent Animals

Intelligence is the ability to learn and apply knowledge and skills. Humans are the superior species and as such, are the most intelligent of all animals. However, several lower animals have been known to exhibit advanced cognitive intelligence that can almost be compared to that of humans. 

In assessing animal intelligence, qualities such as memory, learning, navigation, social intelligence, use of tools and problem solving are taken into consideration and the animals below exhibit one or more of these qualities. 

1. Chimpanzees

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All primates are capable of high levels of cognition, but Chimps have been described as having intelligence similar to that of humans. They display emotions, have sophisticated hunting strategies and can learn sign language to communicate with humans. Chimps communicate among themselves in the wild thorough  facial expressions, gestures, and a large array of vocalizations, including screams, hoots, grunts, and roars.

2. Corvids

Corvids, otherwise known as Crow family are a cosmopolitan family of oscine passerine birds that contains the crows, ravens, rooks, jackdaws, jays, magpies, treepies, choughs, and nutcrackers. All members of this bird family are known to be intelligent, but the most famous of them are the Crows. Crow intelligence has often  been compared to that of a 7-year-old human child. They have an uncanny memory for human faces and can remember if that particular person is a threat. Crows can also communicate complex concepts among themselves and think about the future.

3. Elephants

Elephant | Species | WWF

Research has revealed that Elephants do not only have the largest brains of any land animal, their cortex has as many neurons as a human brain, suggesting convergent evolution. Elephants have exceptional memories, one research found that elephants can understand the difference between languages and whether a man, woman, or child is speaking. They cooperate with each other, play and demonstrate self-awareness. 

4. Dolphins

Facts About Dolphins | Mental Floss

Like primates and Elephants, Dolphins have self awareness and can recognise themselves in a mirror. They are also talented mimics and quick learners, as well as possess problem-solving skills, teaching skills, empathy, innovation, grief, joy and playfulness.

5. Octopus

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Octopus have the largest brains of any invertebrates and are known to be very clever. Scientists have found that octopuses can navigate their way through mazes, solve problems quickly and remember those solutions. At the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Octopus Paul became a worldwide phenomenon for guessing the outcome of several matches at the tournament.

6. Parrots

African Grey Parrot | The Maryland Zoo

Parrots are considered one of the most intelligent birds with an impressive memory They are widely known to mimic human speech, but lesser known is the fact that some, most notably the African grey, are able to associate words with their meanings and form simple sentences.

7. Dogs

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There is more to Dogs than just being man’s best friend. Dogs have the ability to learn over 100 words, they can also read cues, display emotions such as empathy, happiness and jealousy.

8. Whales

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Asides from having a very big brain, Whale brains contain specialized brain cells called spindle neurons which are associated with advanced abilities such as memory, reasoning, communicating, understanding, perceiving, adaptation and problem-solving.

9. Rats

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Rats and mice are highly intelligent and resourceful rodents. They have impressive memories as well as possess the ability to learn and understand concepts. Rats have decision-making abilities, are able to find a good pattern and stick to it without second guessing themselves.

10. Raccoons

Raccoons | University of Maryland Extension

Raccoons are incredibly intelligent and are continuing to adapt and evolve their intelligence alongside humans. More so, studies have shown that they are able to remember the solution to tasks for at least three.

Written by Emeka Nweze

Content writer and contributor.

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