Animals have a lot of mental capacities. They learn from their surroundings and develop. A lot of research is done on animals to understand their level of understanding and learning capabilities. Communicative intelligence and emotional intelligence are some things that researchers primarily focus on. Living and the ease of adapting to new surroundings is also a sign of intelligence. The measure thus is very impressive in a comparative study. Here are 10 of the most intelligent animals on the planet.
1. In an experiment conducted, raccoons were able to open 11 out of 13 locks in less than ten tries. They were able to open them when rearranged and kept upside down. When retested, the raccoons had no problem remembering the information after three years.
In the early 1990s, studies found out that raccoons have 438 million neurons, a little less than dogs, which are also considered intelligent animals. They also show better memory compared to dogs and animals in a similar spectrum.
Raccoons tend to wash their food before eating so that it is clean, it helps them have a better feel of their food. They also passed the Aesop test in which floating food was put in a container with less water. Then the researchers added stones so that water rises. The raccoons grasped this technique quickly and followed it, and even improvised when other animals did not. (source)
2. A special vending machine was created to see whether crows are smart enough to use it. They not only used the machine successfully but also remembered to rip off the paper in the size that was accepted by the machine.
An experiment by Oxford University researchers done on crows showed that they are habitual tool-makers.
A crow they had been observing took a wire from her cage, bent the tip with the help of a nearby object, and made it into a tool with a hook to pick up food. They learn easily to make complex, crafted tools.
In the vending machine experiment, a crow was given a piece of paper to be dropped in the machine to release the treat. A larger paper that did not fit the slot was given to them, and half of them spontaneously snipped off a smaller piece that then went in properly.
Later, to check their memory, larger papers were given again. Researchers observed them snipping the paper to fit the machine. All the adult birds made smaller pieces in no time to us in the vending machine. (source)
3. Ants have complex navigational behavior and use several cues to carry out tasks effectively. They keep track of their path to retrace to return home.
Ants use different cues like the Sun’s position, visual panoramas, wind direction, etc., to navigate around. They also have an emergency plan for when they are attacked. Ants display a well-planned and systematic search pattern. They also learn from the recent past and develop navigational behavior.
Ants have different modules of information for different navigation. One is for keeping track of the distance covered, one for the direction, and the other is keeping track of their line back home. They also have a module for visuals for faster navigation with visual cues.
Ants also do backtracking. They keep a track of their path to retrace it back when required. Ants’ brains and other insect brains are also as complex as ours. This realization has spiked up the number of researches done on ants’ intelligence recently. (source)
4. A bunch of Komodo dragons was given four snails to eat and two more when finished. Then they were made to go to a room where there were only three snails. The lizards kept searching for the expected number that they were fed earlier.
Komodo dragon is a lizard species that do tricks to protect their off-springs. The Komodo dragon, when in captivity, can easily recognize the regular employees at the zoo.
In an experiment to check if it is one of the most intelligent animals, the lizard had to learn to count to six. Target training is a part of zookeepers for these lizards for observation and to enable easy handling to maintain their health. Even though there are several types of Komodo dragon lizards, it is illegal in many countries to have them as a pet. (source)
5. Otters collect rocks to hit an abalone shell. They hit the shells at a rate of 45 times in less than 15 seconds to break it away from the sea bed.
Sea otters are loved by many for their looks. But new studies show there are more reasons to love these animals as they are intelligent too. Otters, even though they are very small marine animals, show intelligence in using tools. They use them for gathering food and removing unwanted things from their food, like bones of fish or parts of crabs.
Primates, cetaceans, and birds also show human-like abilities to procure and use tools for their needs.
Sea otters show intelligence similar to that of dolphins who have a very similar set of skills when it comes to using tools. As studies suggest, otters evolved way before dolphins evolved and developed tool-using capabilities. The captivated ones also started showing basic skills without even having training or experience with other grown-ups at a very early stage.
A study of 100 sea otters concluded that they have developed the ability to do so from their ancestors, much before other species started using tools. Usage of tools makes the otters one of the few mammals to do so. They develop these behaviors before weaning no matter what diet the mother is on. (source)