Despite a reputation for gluttony and poor hygiene, pigs are actually highly intelligent animals. Both domestic and wild species are known for their ability to adapt to a variety of different ecological conditions. They seem to be at least as trainable as cats and dogs, and certain domestic pigs have become a favorite pet in the U.S. Pigs are also extremely flexible. Unlike most other ungulates, which are strictly herbivorous, pigs and their relatives are omnivores with a diet that sometimes includes worms and small vertebrates. Where they have been introduced around the world, pigs tend to out-compete the native species. Though devastating to the native species, this trend is yet another strong indication of pig cleverness.
Crossing the street against traffic may be called “jay-walking,” but jays and other members of the crow family understand better than some humans the importance of waiting for the light to change. Crows living in urban areas are known to gather nuts from trees and then place them in the street for passing cars to crack open the shells. Then, after waiting patiently for the light to change, they return to the street to retrieve their nutty snack – an impressive example of animal innovation. Crows also communicate in elaborate population-specific dialects and play games and tricks on one another. Some scientists even believe that crows are more intelligent than primates.
No. 4 – Elephant
Contrary to popular perception, elephants are more than just lumbering giants with big ears and a good memory. In fact, elephants are quite elegant, cultured and curious. They have been known to clean their food and use tools in various ways in the wild, and they can also follow human commands in captivity. Elephants are also extremely caring and empathetic to other members of their group and to other species, which is considered a highly advanced form of intelligence.
No. 3- Chimpanzee
Chimpanzees share practically the same DNA as humans, so this should not come as a surprise. They also have a better memory than any other animal in the world. They know how to utilize tools and they can communicate well with humans through sign language. They know how to attack their prey, utilizing complex flanking movements. They can even mentally manipulate other chimpanzees.
No. 2 – Dolphin
Have you ever wondered why dolphins and other cetaceans are the star attraction at most aquariums? It’s because they’re smarter than almost any other creature on the planet. Dolphins are extremely social animals. Schools of dolphins can be observed in the world’s oceans surfing, racing, leaping, spinning, whistling and otherwise enjoying themselves. They also have a sophisticated “language,” though humans have only begun to unravel it. Dolphins use tools in their natural environment and can learn an impressive array of behavioral commands by human trainers. Like many of the most intelligent animals on Earth, dolphin females remain with their young for several years, teaching them all the tricks of the dolphin trade.
No. 1 – Orangutan
The great apes are considered the smartest creatures after humans. Of course, humans are biased in this regard, but the intellectual capacity of the great apes is difficult to deny. Among them, orangutans stand out as being especially gifted in the brains department. They have a strong culture and system of communication, and many have been observed to use tools in the wild. Orangutans live in widely scattered communities and form strong social bonds, which may be the key to their advanced cognitive skills. Females remain with their young for many years, teaching them all they need to survive in the forest.
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