Have you ever wondered which animals are the most intelligent on Earth? Research has shown that animals are much smarter than we give them credit. In some ways, they might even be smarter than us! Today we’re going to show you the 25 Most Intelligent Animals On Earth That Might Surprise You.
As a side note, testing and evaluating animal intelligence is very difficult. Comparing and contrasting the results across different species is almost impossible and can be highly subjective. Therefore, this list is not ranked. Rather, we are highlighting animals that have shown surprising levels of intelligence. Also, humans are not being considered in this list other than to act as a standard of intelligence.
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It might be surprising to see these tiny insects on the list, but scientific studies suggest ants really are remarkably intelligent creatures. For example, when an individual ant finds a food source, it will take a bit of the food back to the nest, leaving a trail of pheromones behind to mark the path so that other ants from the colony can find the food source too.
Boasting one of the largest brains of all birds, the crow is famous for sophisticated ways of finding food and building nests. Crows are intelligent enough to recognize human faces and to hide their food from other birds. They are also known for using different tools (e.g. small stones and pebbles) to their own advantages.
Carnivorous mammals that can be aquatic, semi-aquatic or marine, otters have always been known for their intelligence. However, it wasn’t until recently when it was discovered that their skills to use tools was likely acquired millions of years ago. That is much earlier in history than dolphins’ similar skill set, which first appeared around 200 years ago.
Octopi have half a billion neurons (almost as many as dogs), and their brains are very large relative to their size. In captivity, they have learned to navigate simple mazes, solve puzzles, and open screw-top jars, while wild animals have been observed stacking rocks to protect the entrances to their dens. A recent experiment confirmed anecdotal reports that octopi are able to recognize – and even like or dislike – individual humans, even those that are dressed identically.
A marine mammal found from subarctic to tropical waters, the sea lion has an extremely large brain and a very complex nervous system, which makes it one of the smartest aquatic animals in the world. Through a series of specially designed IQ tests, a California sea lion named Rio even became one of few animals to use basic logic.
Image Credits: 1-4. Public Domain, 5. Shutterstock, 6. Public Domain, 7- 15. Shutterstock, 16. Photographer unknown via opencage.info CC BY-SA 2.5, 17. Public Domain, 18-24. Shutterstock, 25. William Cho via commons.wikimedia.org CC BY-SA 2.0.