The 7 Most Impressive Displays of Intelligence in Animals
Animals are much smarter than we think: they can solve puzzles, learn words and communicate with each other in far from primitive ways.
It turns out that crows have the ability to solve problems. The birds were shown cylinders filled with water in which some delicacy floated. The crows quickly realized that in order to get a tasty treat, it was necessary to raise the water level, so they threw foreign objects into the cylinder. In addition, the birds realized that they would get a treat from the cylinder faster, where the water level is higher, and also if they threw heavy objects into the cylinder that would sink to the bottom, and would not float on the surface. In more interesting cases, the crows even managed to bend a piece of wire to catch food from a narrow cylinder. In general, the researchers came to the conclusion that in terms of solving problems, crows are on the same level as children 5-7 years old.
Dolphins are very intelligent creatures. In captivity, it is easy to teach them to perform various tasks in exchange for treats, and they also know how to imitate human behavior for fun. In the wild, dolphins, for example, protect their muzzles with sea sponges while hunting for spiny fish, and then use their needles to extract eels from crevices. Each dolphin has its own personal characteristic whistle, which can be interpreted as its name. The dolphin will swim towards the fellow whose whistle sounds related, and, most likely, will ignore the dolphin, which he does not know. When a female loses her baby, she will make his whistle until the cub is found.
For many years, scientists have been observing elephants and found that they are able to cooperate and interact effectively. Related elephant families unite and travel in whole clans, communicating with the help of low-frequency sounds. From time to time, they trample circles around their cubs to protect them from predators, or conduct well-coordinated actions to kidnap elephants from competing clans to demonstrate their superiority.
In addition, elephants are able to show empathy. In general, animals do not show much interest in their dead relatives: they can sniff them or eat them. Elephants, on the contrary, demonstrate emotions towards elephant remains, lingering near them and expressing signs of frustration and agitation. In one experiment, African elephants were shown the skull of an elephant, a buffalo and a rhinoceros. The elephants kept their attention on the skull of their relative. Finally, the researchers were able to observe how elephants comfort each other. As a rule, when an elephant is worried, it makes sounds and raises its ears. Other elephants from his clan come up to him, stroke his head with their trunks or put their trunks in his mouth.
There is a lot of evidence of canine intelligence, but one of the most striking examples is a collie named Chaser. Psychologist John Pilley trained Chaser to learn the names of 1022 different toys. When Pilley named a particular toy, Chaser made the right choice 95% of the time. Pilley recently taught Chaser verbs in addition to the nouns he already knew. Now the dog can follow orders like choose a toy, poke it with his nose or put his paw on it. Such progress took a lot of time, but it's still an amazing achievement of canine intelligence.
Given that chimpanzees are our closest relatives, their intelligence is quite understandable. However, their level of intelligence (in some areas) may well compete with human. A chimpanzee named Ayumu, who lives at a research institute in Kyoto (Japan), has become world famous for his outstanding visual memory. He is shown nine digits on the screen for a split second, and then Ayumu reproduces their location from memory. Moreover, a chimpanzee is able to beat any person in this game. Scientists still don't fully understand how Ayumu does it, but they assume that the chimpanzee instantly estimates the number, that is, looks at a number of objects and remembers them, and does not consistently recalculate.
Cockatoos, like crows, are able to solve complex puzzles in order to get a treat. Moreover, the puzzles can be really very difficult: for example, to open a box (in which there is a cashew nut), after removing the pin, unscrewing and pulling out the bolt, turning the wheel and, finally, opening the latch. It takes a lot of time because cockatoos don't have fingers. One bird solved this problem for almost two hours, but achieved its goal, proving that birds are able to set goals and achieve them. Other birds participating in the experiment observed the first cockatoo and then coped with the task much faster. Then the puzzle was changed: the five steps to open the box were arranged in a different order. But the birds coped with this task.
Octopus intelligence is difficult to study for several reasons: they are aquatic creatures, practically do not survive in captivity, most of them live deep in the ocean. Their living environment is different from ours, so it is quite understandable that their intelligence is aimed at solving and achieving completely different goals. The octopus has the largest brain among invertebrates, there are more neurons in its brain than in the human brain. However, 60% of these neurons are located in the tentacles, that is, we can say that octopuses have very smart tentacles. If the tentacle is cut off, it can crawl away, grab food and lift it to the place where the mouth should be. In addition, octopuses are great aesthetes and, possibly, colorblind. They collect stones of a certain color to disguise their lair, and many species are able to change color to blend in with their environment. There are suggestions that octopuses feel the color of their skin and react to it accordingly.