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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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329 comments

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5:53AM PDT on Aug 2, 2014

Thank you.

12:17AM PDT on Aug 2, 2014

Add to that list the African Grey Parrot (see Alex ("Avian Learning Experiment"), easily as smart as a 3-5 year old human child, and the Kea, an alpine parrot of New Zealand that may even be smarter. Videos on YouTube.

6:10PM PDT on Aug 1, 2014

...this might be my favorite all time c2 post.....wonderful...

its easy to see humans aren't the only ones with intelligence, in fact I really agree with Einstein "the only two things that infinite -- the universe and humanity stupidity, and I 'm not sure about the universe".........

9:31AM PDT on Aug 1, 2014

great article, thank you

8:06AM PDT on Aug 1, 2014

Is it wrong of me to believe that animals are in many ways more intelligent than humans?

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.

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