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Most Intelligent Animals in the World

Have you ever wondered what animals were the smartest? I’m sure you would bet on dogs or cats, perhaps, and you wouldn’t be wrong.

But wait until you see what other animals are just as smart or even smarter than our friendly pets. Stay with us as we countdown the 15 most intelligent animals in the world.

ELEPHANTS Elephants are exceptionally smart creatures. They have the largest brain of any land animal and three times as many neurons as humans.

While many of these neurons exist to control the elephant’s large and dexterous body, these creatures have demonstrated their impressive mental capabilities time and time again.

African elephants can distinguish differences in human gender, age, and ethnicity purely by the sound of someone’s voice.

If the voice belongs to a person who is more likely to pose a threat, the elephants switch into defensive mode. Similarly, elephants have been known to use sticks to scratch themselves in areas they couldn’t otherwise reach, and fashion fly swatters out of branches or grass.

Others have been observed digging a hole to reach drinking water, and then plugging the hole with a ball formed from chewed bark to prevent the water from evaporating, thus saving it for later usage. Researchers recently observed evidence that elephants might understand human pointing.

They tested this by pointing at food hidden in one of two identical containers and observing which container a group of captive African elephants approached.

Without any previous training, the elephants picked the correct container almost 68 percent of the time. That’s only about 5 percent lower than how one year-old human babies perform on similar tests.

When researchers stood between the containers and did not point, the elephants approached them randomly.

CHIMPANZEES Observed in the wild and tested in captivity, chimpanzees invite comparison with humans, their close relatives.

They bear a family resemblance that fascinates people, and scientists see increasing evidence of similarities in chimp behavior and skills, making some of them think on the vagaries of evolution.

For some time, paleontologists and evolutionary biologists have known that chimp ancestors were the last line of today’s apes to diverge from the branch that led to humans, probably six million, maybe four million years ago.

More recent examination shows that despite profound differences in the two species, just a 1.23 percent difference in their genes separates Homo sapiens from chimpanzees, Pan troglodytes.

And certain similarities between the two species, scientists say, go beyond expressive faces and opposable thumbs. Chimps display a remarkable range of behavior and talent.

They make and use simple tools, hunt in groups and engage in aggressive, violent acts. They are social creatures that appear to be capable of empathy, altruism, self-awareness, cooperation in problem solving and learning through example and experience. Chimps even outperform humans in some memory tasks.

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