Clever, smarter, the smartest ...
Man is considered to be the most intelligent living being in the world and is not only able to recognize connections, but also to significantly shape and change his environment by learning new skills. However, humans are not alone with this because some animal species are classified as highly intelligent due to similar abilities. It is well known that some mammals and birds have a pronounced social and emotional feeling and are capable of learning. However, some species of animals surprise with a high level of intelligence comparable on many levels to that of humans.
Among the birds, ravens and crows are considered by far the most clever of their class. Not only are they able to analyze their environment and use the logical insights to their advantage, but they have often been watched as they deliberately deceive their conspecifics to tap new sources of food. When confronted with unfamiliar situations, they use their logical thinking to solve problems and adapt to the demands of their environment. This has resulted in intense research with crows that have had to perform certain computer-controlled tasks, even proving that they can count like humans.
Scientists equate the intelligence of ravens with that of some species of apes, because in the high-performance brain of crows and ravens in certain situations similar nerve processes are set in motion as in primates. In addition to the corvids, parrots are considered highly intelligent animals that can solve complex problems and also have an excellent memory.
Among the marine mammals dolphins are considered the smartest representatives of their order. Her astonishingly large brain relative to the rest of the body is able to initiate mature emotional thinking processes. Scientists even found that the brain of dolphins has a more complex structure than humans.
In addition to some apes such as chimpanzees or orangutans among the land-dwelling mammals, especially the elephants are called as highly intelligent living beings. They are able to use found objects as tools. For example, elephants were observed using wooden sticks to remove ticks from their skin or to use leaves to repel annoying flies. From an emotional point of view, elephants are also comparable to humans. They feel affection, care lovingly for sick and weak animals and motherless calves within the herd and mourn after losing a young animal days and weeks. Contrary to the established saying "as stupid as a cow", cattle also have a complex emotional inner life. Scientists found that within a herd they can differentiate and feel feelings between friends and enemies according to their individual judgment of conspecifics. Nevertheless, the domestic pig is considered the smartest livestock, because it can like ravens deliberately cheat conspecifics to find access to food or use tools to develop new sources of food. Studies have shown that pigs can operate computer games with levers and learn various tricks like tire skydiving.
However, the mental abilities of animals that are significantly smaller or less developed are surprising. Cuttlefish have a complex-organized brain that, in contrast to all other invertebrates, has a similar structure to humans. Cuttlefish are interested in their environment, can learn new skills and use tools to defend themselves against attackers or to bring more variety into their everyday lives through employment. Also some spiders, among them several species within the genus Portia have a sophisticated intelligence, which allows them to learn new skills, to hunt in situ and to solve problems specifically. These advanced features also share the spiders with rats. Although insects such as ants or bees can not necessarily be described as highly intelligent individuals, they develop a highly complex social fabric in the colony that is capable of making decisions (swarm intelligence) and adapting to the environment.