Top 10 Most Intelligent Animals on Earth

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When it comes to the animal kingdom, not all creatures are created equal. Some animals can rely on their size or brute strength to catch their prey, and ward off predators. However, some creatures rely on their intelligence to survive their daily lives, and get a leg up on the animals around them. They possess exceptional problem solving skills, and are able to adapt to changes in their environment. Here are ten (in no particular order) of the most intelligent animals in the animal kingdom.

10. Orangutans


Orangutan means “man of the forest” in the Malay language, and it is a fitting description for these apes. They often imitate human behavior, which many consider to be a high sign of intelligence. Orangutans are also capable of learning complex skills like using a hammer and nail to put things together. They have also been known to use leaves as both an umbrella, and as a cup. These traits make them one of the most intelligent animals.

9. Dogs


Dogs have earned their place as man’s best friend for a number of reasons. Beyond making excellent companions, some breeds can be highly intelligent as well. Dogs can be trained to do numerous tasks, and have been employed to do so by many organizations, including local Police departments. Dogs can recognize complex emotions, and are known for their empathy. Dogs are also known for having good memories, and some dogs (like poodles and border collies) are known for their strong attention to detail. Dogs are not only man’s best friend, but one of the most intelligent animals.

8. Pigeons


Being called a bird brain is a classic way of insulting someone’s intelligence. However, the insult loses meaning when referring to the brain of a pigeon, and becomes more of a  compliment. Pigeons are one of the smartest birds, and possess a lot of special abilities. They have a great sense of direction, and have the uncanny ability to remember people and places. This is why they have been used by humans as messengers to deliver messages throughout the course of history.

7. Raccoons


A lot of animals have been victims of deforestation. They have typically had a hard time adapting to their new urban environments, and their populations have dwindled as a result. Raccoons on the other hand are a little more resilient, and have had no problem adapting to their new surroundings. Because of their high intelligence, raccoons are excellent problem solvers, and are great at foraging for food and finding shelter. They are also capable of developing complex relationships with each other.

6. Horses


Horses have been used by humans for centuries for good reason. Beyond being an excellent mode of transportation, they are really smart too. Compared to most animals, they are easy to train. They are also famous for having excellent memories, and can understand numerous commands, even in times of great stress. This versatility makes them one of the most intelligent animals.

5. Elephants


There is a reason people always say an elephant never forgets. As far as memories go, they have one of the best in the animal kingdom. They have been known to remember people and other elephants, even after years of being apart. They are capable of forming complex relationships, as well as showing complex emotions, like empathy. As far as intelligence goes, elephants are on the same level as apes, dolphins and humans.

4. Pigs


Pigs may be overlooked and under appreciated by many, but they are smarter than they get credit for. They possess many qualities that humans do. They communicate with each other with oinks, grunts and squeals that are all distinct. They also have a special toilet area far away from where they eat and sleep. They can also adapt to good at adapting to changing environments, and are able to learn new skills with relative ease. These traits not only make them one of the most intelligent animals in the barnyard, but in the animal kingdom as well.

3. Chimpanzees


As far as animals go, chimpanzees are the closest to humans. In fact, much of a human’s dna is the same as a chimps. Chimpanzees are incredibly intelligent beings who replicate our behavior in a number of ways. They have a complex form of communication consisting of noises and bodily gestures. They also live together in families, and have communities where they interact by playing, breeding and grooming one another. They are also renowned for making and using their own tools. Chimpanzees are also able to communicate with humans with the use of sign language. Chimpanzees have rightfully earned their spot as one of the most intelligent animals.

2. Dolphins


Renowned for being one of the most intelligent animals on Earth, dolphins are extraordinary creatures. They have complex relationships with their pods, and use advanced communication skills to communicate from long distances. Dolphins are also known for having an impressive level of understanding and awareness. Their intelligence is thought to be on par with that of a small child. They are also self aware, as they can recognize their own reflection. They have also been shown to exhibit complex emotions, like depression.

1. Humans


While we may not consider ourselves animals, we in fact are. We are mammals, and we share the majority of our dna with apes. Besides being the most dominant species on the planet, and on the top of the food chain, humans are also most intelligent animals. While we share much in common with certain species of the animal kingdom, there are countless other things that set humans apart.

For better or worse, humans have had the most impact on planet Earth than any other animal. Humans have perfected agriculture, discovered electricity, and documented history. We have invented countless mechanical and electronic devices that wouldn’t be possible in nature. We have explored outer space, and have a better understanding of our universe than any other species on Earth. Our ability to innovate in art, technology and science are just a few of the things that set us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom.


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