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6 Species Proving Humans Aren’t the Only Intelligent Ones on the Planet

6 Species Proving Humans Aren’t the Only Intelligent Ones on the Planet
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Written by David DeFranza

Defining intelligence is not easy. Is it an ability for abstract thought? Communication? Reasoning? Problem solving? It’s a troubling concept for humans because we know we have it but we’re not so sure what, exactly it is.

And traditionally, humans have considered their intelligence to be superior to that of the rest of earth’s inhabitants. Animals, it has long been thought, have a degree of intelligence but certainly nothing that could compare to humanity’s proclivity for innovation and emotional understanding.

Recently, however, a series of observations have challenged this idea. Indeed, we humans are finally realizing that several animals—from our cousins the apes down to fish and even some invertebrates—experience deep emotion, develop culture, and utilize tools for problem solving; all things that were once the cornerstones of the human intelligence pedestal.

vladdythephotogeek/flickr

1. Apes

Any discussion of animal intelligence must begin with apes. There has been extensive and well-documented research that has found evidence of some key elements of high intelligence in ape species including self awareness, emotional understanding, problem solving and reasoning, culture, and language.

Perhaps the most compelling sign, however, are the numerous videos of apes morning their dead kin. The footage of both chimpanzees and gorillas is chilling.

 

Top photo from Chi King via flickr.

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324 comments

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3:29PM PDT on Sep 2, 2013

Human intelligence?? I guess I watch the news to much.

7:35AM PDT on Apr 11, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

1:09PM PDT on Mar 13, 2013

We can learn so much from the animals. We have but there is always more.

7:42AM PDT on Mar 12, 2013

Every day my African Grays prove to me how smart they are

8:11PM PDT on Mar 11, 2013

I've always thought animals were more intelligent than humans.

6:13AM PDT on Mar 11, 2013

The difference between us and these animals is that they show compassion and will help a human in distress. We show no compassion and murder them in droves.
They are many more species showing intelligence. All being smarter than humans by not destroying the enviroment

4:15AM PDT on Mar 11, 2013

The story stated that:
Though no animal has exhibited the desire or ability to cooperate and transform the planet to the extent humans have.

Isn't that the truth?
No species has screwed up and polluted the Earth like the human species has.
No other species has the knowledge, the power and yet the stupidity to completely destroy the Earth's Environment.
Ever wonder why all things are in Harmony on this Planet, except for smart old us?

2:06AM PST on Feb 26, 2013

Re human versus animal intelligence. In the hills there are roads with cattle grids and loose sheep grazing on the other side. I met this dumb motorist who complained that he kept damaging his car by hitting sheep! (Never mind the poor sheep!)

I've never hit a sheep because I can always tell if there is a ewe on one side of the road and a lamb on the other. When scared, the lamb will run to its mother. It's only been on this planet for a month or two so it hasn't had time to learn about traffic. But the motorist has had *how* many years to learn about sheep!? So which is the stupid one!



2:04AM PST on Feb 26, 2013

Read 'King Solomon's Ring' by Konrad Lorenz, who won the Nobel Prize for his studies of animla behaviour. It's book you'll never forget!

9:25AM PST on Feb 25, 2013

Our African Grey mourned the loss of his friend Merlyn, a Blue Front Amazon who died of liver disease and our bunny Thumper whom he considered his pet when she died of jaw cancer.

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