Octopuses are considered the most intelligent of all invertebrates, and are even smarter than most other species on the planet. They have both short and long-term memory, they can navigate mazes and escape from aquariums, and they have even been known to sneak aboard fishing boats, pry open holds and gorge on captured crabs. It’s very tough to keep octopuses as pets due to their problem-solving skills and their ability to squeeze through openings no bigger than their eyeballs. Watch as this octopus manages to open a jar.
Humans have been domesticating and training elephants for the last four thousand years. Their intelligence, coupled with their strength, has been put to use in construction, war, and under the big top as entertainment. The extremely sad fact is that if elephant poaching continues at its current rate, African elephants could be extinct in less than fifteen years. Watch as this elephant learns to paint.
A member of the highly intelligent bird family known as corvids, crows have often proven themselves just as clever as chimps and gorillas. Not only are their brains about the same size as some primates, but they share many behavioural similarities: using tools to get food, retaining memories, and anticipating future events to help them solve problems-just as this little fellow has done to solve the problem of the impenetrable nut shell.
We are quick to reward the dog when he rolls over on command, yet we’ll cringe at the sight of a pig rolling in filth. But pigs are, in fact, the smarter of the two species. Pigs can be taught the meaning of certain words and phrases, and, after years without hearing them, will still remember what those meanings are. Mothers sing to their young while they’re nursing, pigs learn from the mistakes of other pigs, and they can play videogames too complex for 3-year old children. That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.
Before Jane Goodall discovered that chimpanzees use sticks to dig and fish out delicious termites, it was believed that only humans wore the tool belt in the animal kingdom. But not only do chimpanzees use tools for food, they can also fashion weapons for hunting.
Chimpanzees live in highly organized hierarchal societies, can appreciate a beautiful sunset, will mourn the death of a loved one, and can not only learn sign language but pass it along to others. We humans consider ourselves the most evolved species on earth-let’s see how we fare against chimps in a simple game of math and memory.
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