Thursday, January 3, 2013 10:21:00 AM | by belenmo
World's smartest animals
Monkeys display their surprising intelligence in complex social structures and interactions, and with their intricate vocal communication.
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Falcons show extraordinary intelligence in the wild in their resourcefulness in finding food. Falcons are trainable and have excellent memories, and falconers use them to hunt.
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Perhaps it's no coincidence that owls have long been associated with wisdom in the West. They are known to be skillful hunters.
Sheep have a reputation for being mindless followers, but studies have shown they are actually quite intelligent. Sheep recognize and remember faces and are able to perceive and react to emotions, and respond to training.
Whales communicate through complex song, live in societies and exhibit problem solving ability. Some whales have brains that are similar in key ways to human brains.
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Orangutans have been known to make and use tools and live in social groups so complex they qualify as cultures. Captive orangutans have learned human sign language.
When you think of pigeons, do you think of their ability to carry messages? One sign of their intelligence is their ability to learn long routes home from faraway places. Pigeons have been shown to be able to recognize themselves in the mirror.
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Crows are among the smartest species of bird. Some types have been known to make and use their own tools.
Ever been outsmarted by a raccoon that persists in breaking into your garbage? Studies have shown that the crafty critters are experts at picking locks.
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Squirrels may not seem too bright when you're swerving to avoid one that just ran in front of your car. But they're remarkably clever problem-solvers. And they know to store up food for the winter.
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Horses have an impressive ability to learn and be trained. Show animals learn and perform complicated routines. Horses seem to be capable of problem-solving, too.
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Pigs learn quickly, retain knowledge and show evidence of cognition. Researchers have taught pigs how to use mirrors to locate their food bowls.
Getty Images/Photo Researchers RM
Dolphins are widely considered to be the most intelligent animals on Earth after humans. They show self-awareness, live in social groups and communicate with whistles and clicks that resemble language. This dolphin is working to clear mines from shipping lanes.
Cats are more difficult to train than dogs, but that doesn't mean that they aren't as smart. Cats have been shown to have good memories and vast learning capacity.
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Both African and Asian elephants have highly convoluted brains — a good indicator of intelligence. Elephants seem to have emotional lives, and have been known to be altruistic and bury their dead. Here, an elephant recognizes itself in a mirror, something most animals cannot do.
Rats are quick to learn and easy to train, and exhibit some problem-solving ability.
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Octopuses are thought to be the smartest invertebrates. They are dexterous and coordinated, and very skilled hunters. Some species have been known to use tools.
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Dogs are very social and very trainable. They're very good at picking up cues from humans and understanding our language and behavior.
Eduardo Verdugo/AP Photo
Parrots are known for imitating words. But some parrots have seemed to understand what they're saying and use words in simple sentences. They also have the ability to use tools and solve puzzles.
Getty Images/Photo Researchers RM
Chimpanzees make and use tools, live in complex social structures and cooperate on hunts. They are thought to communicate in a way that is very similar to human nonverbal communication.