As humans, we usually think that we’re at the top of the proverbial mental sharpness mountain. Sure, some other animals are a little bit intelligent, but how can they hold a candle to humans? Our brains are huge, our heads match, and no other animal has written physics textbooks. How could they possibly compete with the apex of psychological acuity?
Well, it turns out that some animals are pretty bright. While we’re not sure if they possess the concept of self like we do, nor do we know if they can understand abstract ideas like philosophy, politics, or art, we do know that some animals have a pretty astounding ability to use their noggins. Some just have interesting brains.
- Chimpanzees have better visual memory than most humans.
- Dolphins can remember the unique sound of other dolphins almost 20 years later!
- Dolphins also have their own names for each other. I guess one name is squeeeek, and the other is squeeeeeeeeek.
- Giant squid have a donut shaped brain that their food passes through. Gross.
- Leeches technically have 32 brains.
- Sea squirts eat their own brains, because they’re sedentary and don’t need them when they’re older.
- Pigeons can remember hundreds of pictures, faces, and flying routes.
- Pigs are so smart, they can actually play video games, and they remember their names!
- Parrots have the capability of learning hundreds of words, and they might actually know what they mean!
- Octopi might have the second best memory in the ocean, and they’re able to solve complex problems and mazes.
- Gorillas have the ability to learn sign language, and they’ve been able to communicate emotions, needs, and even questions.
- Elephants can recognize their entire herd by sight and smell, and they’ll recognize each other many years after parting.
- Elephants also have the largest brain out of any mammal.
- Elephants are able to do some math problems, and they mourn their dead. Smart and sad.
- Crows can remember faces, so don’t upset one or they’ll sick their murder (that’s what a group of crows is called) on you.
- Some crows have learned to hunt, using cars to kill squirrels and rodents for them to munch on.
- Even though house cats aren’t that smart--generally less intelligent than their canine counterparts--their short term memory is around 20x longer than a human’s.
- The Clark Nutcracker bird can remember the location of up to 30,000 nuts. That’s bonkers.
- The Clark Nutcracker can also memorize an entire area of about 15 square miles.
- Some ants can actually become controlled by a fungus that turns them into ant zombies. Dream about that tonight.
The animal kingdom is incredible. Even though humans are pretty special when it comes to the brains department, it turns out that animals can do some really awesome, mind-blowing stuff too.