Both creationism and evolution tend to place us, humans, as the most highly intelligent animals on the planet. However, the line may sometimes become blurred when we discover what some of our fellow Earth inhabitants are truly capable of – or when we look at what completely idiotic things we can sometimes do. Highly intelligent animals exist just about everywhere, and I'm not just talking about chimps, dolphins or dogs here, but some other species that may surprise you.
Most people would hardly count the squirrel among the most highly intelligent animals of the world. Still, many species of squirrels manage the most remarkable and unusual feats, such as covering their furs in the scent of snakes to avoid detection, creating full 3D maps in their heads to remember where they stashed their peanuts, and even putting on elaborate shows to deceive and catch those who would want to steal their prized peanuts.
Researchers at the University of London conducted a study on bees’ ability to find the quickest route towards a number of artificial flowers. The flowers were placed strategically to mimic a mathematical problem that even computers can take a long time to figure out, and the study has revealed some shocking results. Not only did the bees find the fastest route, but they did so in record time, and through means that still leave modern scientists scratching their heads.
Passing on knowledge has long been considered a human trait, but what would one of the most highly intelligent animals on the planet – the baboon – have to say about that? In a study that examined the way 12 generations of baboons responded to a memory game, researchers found that later generations could actually solve the game much more easily than any other baboons, sometimes with a success rate better than 95%.
Pigs are often some of the most underrated animals when it comes to intelligence. Did you know they are able to learn the meaning of certain words and remember them years after not having heard them? And that's not all. There are many other amazing facts that reveal their outstanding intelligence, including singing to their young, playing computer games too complex for a 3 year old human, and even learning from the mistakes of their peers.
Elephants have some of the largest brains in the animal kingdom and, aside from showing ingenuity when being used for transportation, in wars, or in entertainment, they also have an incredible memory and are able to use various objects creatively without being taught – for example, fashioning tools in the wild to clean their food.
Crows are some of the most intelligent birds in existence. They can fashion tools from twigs, feathers, and pieces of debris, and they show signs of even higher intelligence by learning from their peers. Also, they have a variety of ingenious methods for protecting their food and even communicating with other animals.
The octopus is a unique marine creature that has captivated the minds of scientists and filmmakers for ages – and has probably been a star in a lot of kids' nightmares as well. Not everybody knows, however, that these creatures are the most intelligent invertebrates on the planet, being capable of complex tasks like sneaking aboard fishing boats, navigating mazes, escaping from aquariums in ingenious ways, and even opening cans and boxes.
As you can see, many members of the animal kingdom can truly amaze you with their remarkable ingenuity, cognitive abilities, and creativity. Have you heard of any other highly intelligent animals that may surprise us? Do you know any fun or interesting stories about them?
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