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Which Are the Most Intelligent Animals On the Planet?

We often forget that animals are our closest genetic relatives on this planet. Although we may feel smarter, wiser and ahead of the game, animals can be in may ways just as intelligent as us.

Here are 23 of the smartest animals on the planet - our closest intellectual eqauls!

 

23. Squid

intelligent animals
Squid are some of the most intelligent invertebrates, or species without spinal cords, that exist on the planet. Their brain structure is similar to that of humans, and also like humans, they are very curious about their environment. They also have the ability to learn new skills, communicate with one another and use tools to keep themselves busy or to protect themselves. 

22. Spiders

intelligent animals
These critters are some of the most intelligent animals proportionate to their size. For instance, the Portia spider, also known as the jumping spider, is renowned for its intelligent hunting behavior. When they hunt other spiders (their food), they mimic the vibrations of a trapped insect in a spider's web to attract it's prey's attention. Such abilities suggest that they are capable of learning and problem solving in order to suit their needs. 

21. Ants

intelligent animals
Alone, it may just be an ant, but when ants band together, they are able to collectively solve problems with what's called 'swarm intelligence'. Together, they are able to build nests, serve their Queen and hunt for food. They also usually choose the route that will minimize their total walking time, a characteristic that reflects advanced levels of social organization. 

20. Baboons

intelligent animals
Baboons are some of the fiercest monkeys out there, taking on their enemies and humans with little fear. Besides their harsh demeanor, these monkeys are extremely sharp and use visual communication to alert other monkeys against a threat or available food sources. They also engage in vocal exchanges to determine relations of dominance between individuals. 

19. Sea Lions
 
intelligent animals
Sea lions are famous for balancing balls on their nose and jumping through hoops, but the tricks they perform at the zoo do no justice to their level of intelligence. Sea lions are able to understand commands through sign language, to recognize relationships between different stimuli and then to communicate those connections to their peers. They may even be able to make logical deductions between different commands. 

18. Orangutans

intelligent animals
These big red monkeys are some of the most intelligent primates due to their sophisticated tool manufacturing skills and their ability to closely imitate human actions. Each night, they construct elaborate sleeping nests from wood and branches in their surrounding using tools of their own making. It is also possible that these monkeys have a capacity for advanced symbolic language. 

17. Pigeons

intelligent animals
Despite what you may think, pigeons are some of the smartest bird brains out there. They have the capacity to spilt their attention between different stimuli, to learn complex response sequences and have a photographic memory more advanced than most humans. Some studies suggest that pigeons are able to remember images of people and places throughout the course of their lives. 

16. Crows

intelligent animals
Pigeons are not the only intelligent birds. Crows also have a highly developed photographic memory, are able to communicate to identify threats and food sources and have advanced problem solving capabilities. Crows will use whatever is available to them in their surroundings to complete the task at hand, and their determination is astonishing. 

15. Sheep

intelligent animals
Sheep are often deemed timid and pea-brained animals, but their IQ levels are close to those of cows and pigs. Sheep can recognize individual human faces and remember them for years. They can also differentiate between emotional states through an individual's facial expressions and have excellent problem-solving abilities. They are even able to recognize the voices of other sheep and lambs according to their intonation, which signals their age. 

14. Raccoons

intelligent animals
Raccoons are some of nature's most resourceful rodents, with advanced problem-solving abilities and complex social relationships between them. Some studies suggest that raccoons may be able to remember solutions to tasks they carried out in the past for up to three years, and have capabilities for understanding complex principles mainly through their sense of touch. 

13. Horses

intelligent animals
One of the most cherished animals by humans, horses are also some of the most intelligent in nature. They are able to conduct advanced cognitive tasks and overcome mental challenges in the procurement of food and in social situations. They also have similar spatial discrimination abilities to humans and impressive problem solving skills, which explains why some horses are even able to open the locks that keep them in their pens. 

12. Rhesus Monkeys

intelligent animals
These Old World Asian monkeys can adapt to many different habitats, including human communities. These monkeys live in human communities in India, where they are considered sacred. These monkeys are also known for displaying what seem to be suicidal tendencies as well as planned group attacks.

11. Falcons

intelligent animals
Falcons, much like pigeons, were used in antiquity as messengers and to convey reconnaissance. They are adept at following commands and have excellent photographic and territorial memories. However, they are renowned for advanced hunting abilities and their exception vision, which has an acuity of 2.6 times that of a normal human. 

10. Rats

rats
Believe it or not, these rodents are some of the smartest creatures out there. The structure of their brains nearly matches those of humans, which is one reason why they are used for neurological testing for a number of serious diseases. They are also quick and adept learners and are extremely prosocial, demonstrating surprising altruistic and kind behavior, like freeing other rats from cages.

9. Squirrels

intelligent animals
These nut-collectors are surprising extraordinarily intelligent. They are able to exhibit advanced motor skills in the gathering and storing of food. They are able to remember for months, and possibly even years, where they store their food and are able to signal to other squirrels where the food is located.

8. Elephants

intelligent animals
Among the world's most intelligent animals, elephant brains are larger than any land animal and are similar in structure and complexity to human brains. They have just as many neurons as humans do and are able to exhibit a wide variety of emotions and reactions, such as grief, altruism, use of tools and cooperation. 

7. Octopi

intelligent animals
The octopus is the smartest invertebrate (beating the squid at his game), with advanced memory systems that exhibit capacities for short and long-term memory. Octopi have highly complex nervous systems and are skilled hunters with unique strategies for finding food. 

6. Dogs

intelligent animals
Dog intelligence has been observed and noted by scientists over centuries, and is categorized into three categories: instinctive intelligence, adaptive intelligence and working/obedience intelligence. Instinctive intelligence includes the skills like hunting and guarding that the breed of dog is born with, adaptive intelligence means dogs are able to solve complex problems on their own, and working intelligence refers to dogs' ability to learn from humans. 

5. Whales

intelligent animals
The largest animals on our planet, whales are also some of the smartest. Whales' communicate and coordinate their activities in pods (their social groups) using complex sounds and indications. They also engage in cross-species cooperation in order to find food, even seeking to help out beached or whales in danger. Lastly, they are uniquely self-aware of their behavior and engage in individualistic complex thinking. 

4. Parrots

intelligent animals
We've all heard or seen parrots that can talk, but how do they do it? Parrot's ability for speech is not necessarily related to their mimicking capacity, but rather to their excellent memories. They are even able to answer and solve complex problems without previously being fed the correct answer, and to distinguish between faces and human behavior. 

3. Bottlenose Dolphins

intelligent animals
According to a number of biologists, dolphin's intelligence may be at a comparable level to human intelligence. They have advanced levels of comprehension, self-recognition, symbols for different body parts and numerical values, discriminating and matching abilities, as well as the capacity to monitor their behavior and the behavior of others. 

2. Pigs

intelligent animals
It may seem like pigs are best at eating grub, but some studies suggest that a middle aged pig can be as smart as a three year-old human! Pigs have the ability to adapt to complex environments as well as the ability to learn new skills easily. There has to be a reason why Babe is a pig, and not a dog!

1. Chimpanzees

intelligent animals
These are the smartest animals and nature, and for a good reason. These monkeys are our closest genetic relative and they think in many ways like we do. Their use of tools is astounding (many times their stone tools are up to par with ancient human tools) and they are able to use those tools to help their communities complete certain tasks. They are altruistic towards each other and care deeply for the welfare of their group members.

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