1. Annûniel
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    Annûniel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Animal Intelligence

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Annûniel, Aug 15, 2010.

    This is actually has some relevance to my book, and I wanted to get an idea of what others thought so I could see if my ideas were plausible.

    In your opinion, what are the three most intelligent animals in the world (excluding the obvious monkey or ape)?

    As the idea of intelligence can be rather vague, in these terms I'm looking for animals that appear to process independent thought through problem-solving, rather than the intelligence that allows an animal to be trained for difficult tasks. For example, choosing an octopus or a parrot that has demonstrated its ability to problem-solve, over a dolphin or a pigeon, which are easily trained animals.

    Also, I'm going to ask you to limit your choices to animals that have hands, thus ruling out sea mammals, fish, birds, etc. (Not to say that these animals aren't intelligent, but it isn't my intention to start a discussion on the intelligence of animals.)
     
  2. ojduffelworth
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    ojduffelworth Contributing Member

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    Rats number one...then dogs and cats
     
  3. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    The question is asked the wrong way. It all depends on what you measures or asks for.

    When it comes to learning cross species communication for example. Lets say you examining how fast a species learn to socially interact with lets say a pig, dogs learn waaaaay faster then even humans.

    But my dog can't do echolocation. Or code html. Or hide hundreds and hundreds of hidden storages of food and remember them. Or calculate the correct angle to dive after a pigeon through the sky.

    But if you google you can certainly find species ranked after different kinds of criteria.
     
  4. Tessie
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    Tessie Contributing Member Contributor

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    I was going to say dolphins. Yes, they can be trained to do any trick, but their social skills are very advanced. But you've already said you don't want dophins, so my second choice is dogs.

    They can be trained to do any trick or tasks as in special aid, but they also have emotion, character, and are easily impressed upon if abused or mistreated by other dogs and humans.

    I also think cats are a good choice as well.

    Good luck.

    T2
     
  5. Ragdoll
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    I think cats are pretty smart^^ (and dogs -.-)
    I was also gonna say dolphin though...
     
  6. Annûniel
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    Annûniel Contributing Member Contributor

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    In what way did I "ask wrong?" I did mention that I was looking for "process independent thought through problem-solving" as a means of measuring intelligence. I'm not sure how I could have phrased the question to be more specific.

    I have done some moderate research on Google, but that actually defeats the purpose of this thread. I'm trying to determine what a typical reader might define as an intelligent animal in terms of problem-solving, not what animal behaviorists and scientists have concluded. After all, studies show that squirrels are very adept at problem-solving but considering how the media often portrays squirrels, I doubt many would have thought as much.

    Thanks for your responses everyone. I also didn't mean to say that dolphins are simply easily trained and in no way intelligent, it was only an example to try and dissuade from using "easily-trainable" type intelligence without mentioning an animal someone might have chosen.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    when you limit it to those with 'hands' then you're certainly narrowing the field... especially when you leave out all primates... here's one that came to mind right away:

    otters... they use tools to get at their food source... and they also 'play' which is often considered a sign of higher intelligence...
     
  8. Peerie Pict
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    Peerie Pict Contributing Member Contributor

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    Elephants are very socially intelligent. In terms of logic and problem solving they are not bad either. I saw a documentary where the herd tried to assist a youngster who was born with malformed front legs. They seemed painfully aware that it needed to walk to have any chance of survival and would help it to stand.
     
  9. jacklondonsghost
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    jacklondonsghost Contributing Member

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    Pigs are incredibly intelligent, probably smarter than dogs in a lot of regards.

    Rats are also very smart, from what research I've done on them.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    elephants also use tools, comfort the dying and mourn their dead...
     
  11. Peerie Pict
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    Peerie Pict Contributing Member Contributor

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    True. Man, I love elephants.
     
  12. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    My vote goes to ravens. Obviously they don't have hands so they haven't learnt to use tools or anything like that, but what they are able to do is understand physics in an abstract way (as are humans) and use that understanding in practical situations. The famous example (that has been verified several times) is that ravens understand that by dropping objects, say pebbles, into a container of water, the water level will rise, enabling them to drink it. They can also recall literally thousands of locations where they have stored food, and are able to solve logical problems without resorting to trial and error (as in, by thinking about the problem first, as humans do). Obviously this capacity is limited--they tend to lose the ability if the problem requires them to think in counter-intuitive ways, or if the process is too long--but it's far more than the majority of animals are capable of.
     
  13. Three
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    I second Arron89's motion. What I know is about crows, but being as they're similar to ravens they're probably just as brilliant.

    I've heard stories of crows making a habit of pulling the zippers of lunch bags open to eat the food inside. And actually, they can also (hold on, this will blow your mind) create and use tools. Yes. No kidding. I read n article about how a crow was set in front of a bit of wire and a tall jar with a bit of food inside, far enough that it couldn't reach it. The crow hopped around it a bit, then proceeded to BEND THE WIRE WITH IT'S BEAK, DANGLE THE WIRE IN THE JAR AND PULL THE FOOD OUT.
    I kid you not.

    AND they mourn their dead. Take that elephants.
     
  14. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    Animals that have hands. Hoo boy.

    Lemur, if I'm allowed to get away with it ... not a monkey or ape, but a primate. And smart.

    Squirrels, otters and cats have hands and could probably be portrayed as intelligent. Squirrels perhaps less so, but otters (as mammamaia mentioned) use rocks to open the shells of the food they eat. And cats have paws that can rotate palms-up, and some of them (Siamese, for example) have learned how to open and use doorknobs.

    Elephants and birds don't have hands, precisely, but elephants can manipulate tools if they don't need fine detail, and birds like crows and parrots can manipulate tools if they aren't too heavy.

    Would beavers be considered smart enough? I think their paws are articulated enough for detail work. And they certainly build impressive things, although I don't know if that counts as tool use.
     
  15. Lothgar
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    Lothgar Contributing Member

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    You want me to choose the three most intelligent animals with hands, but excluding monkeys and apes (The animals with hands)?

    Humans fall into the animal kingdom (as they are not vegetable or mineral) but may not qualify if you consider them to be evolved apes.

    Raptors (birds of prey such as hawks, eagles, falcons, etc.) may qualify if you count talons as hands.

    Cats may qualify if you count a paw as a hand.
     
  16. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I have a large population of squirrels right outside my back door and I observe them a lot. They are actually very smart. Not only do they remember where they've stored food, but they're capable of solving pretty elaborate obstacle courses. Ask anybody who's ever tried to make a squirrel-proof bird feeder. Years ago, there was a show on TV in the UK called "Daylight Robbery" about just how ingenious squirrels can be.

    And I second cats. My cousins had a cat (not a Siamese) that would regularly use doorknobs.
     

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