The 10 smartest animals in the world

Intelligence is a very difficult term to define. In a simple way, it can be described as the ability to solve problemsand adapt to life.

No one would doubt that, within the animal kingdom, the human being has stood out over the other species for a greater development of his cognitive and social abilities. This fact causes that sometimes the rest of animals are thought to be inferior in intelligence, a belief that is wrong.

In the diversity of the animal kingdom there are species whose cognitive abilities are superior to those of others. In this article we analyze the most intelligent animal species that exist.

Especially intelligent animals

Psychic ability in animals is also a difficult value to measure, so making a list of the smartest animals in the world is somewhat complicated.

You can use a multitude of criteria, such as the ability to Learn in captivity, understanding and use of language or the ability to plan an action or to abstract concepts. These ideas go well beyond the simple ability to solve problems mentioned at the beginning of the text.

Therefore, more than the typical "top ten", in this list I present a series of species, trying to cover different kinds of animals whose cognitive abilities are superior to what many might think, as research shows. Go for it.

10. The ant

It is the insect with the greatest brain mass that exists. The ant is an intelligent, methodical and strategic invertebrate. His social organization is very complex, with hierarchies and work diversification, for example, they have explorers for the recognition of the land.

Ants are able to grow fungi or raise other invertebrates as food, in addition to presenting a coordinated battle to defend their territory.

9. The dog

"The best friend of man" is a species that has evolved in favor of the interests of the human being, but that does not mean that they are intelligent beings. In addition to being faithful friends, dogs are able to understand human languageor, feel empathy for other beings and apply logic to achieve their goals.

8. The gray parrot

The gray parrot is a bird that is not only able to imitate the sounds of human language, but also to apply it in a context, that is, to understand its meaning.

Among the case studies highlights the parrot Axel, who lived thirty years (from 1977 to 2007), and was trained by comparative psychologist Irene Pepperberg. As she remarked, she was able to communicate with the animal.

Despite being an animal that for many is unpleasant, for scientists it is very similar to humans, and proof of this is its great use in experiments. These rodents are highly sociable and work together for the good of the group.

Rats are able to plan and apply logic for problem solving. Some studies reveal that they are also sensitive animals, which show stress or regrets.

6. The crow

The crow is considered by many scientists as the most intelligent bird. They are social animals that form herds.

In New Caledonia it was found that crows they use tools like knives to cut and throw nuts on the road waiting for a car to pass over and break them. This means that they are able to find ways to solve problems.

5. The octopus

The octopus is the most intelligent invertebrate that exists. They are lonely beings, but they are capable of recognize your environment and memorize in the long term What they have been discovering. Its nervous system is complex, and the funny thing is that only one third of its neurons are located in the brain: the rest are scattered around the tentacles.

Nor do their abilities for mimicry and camouflage go unnoticed, and are known to be great escapists.

4. The elephant

The elephant is the land animal with the largest brain and has advanced cognitive abilities. For example, they are altruistic, that is, they are sacrificed for the good of the pack, they self-medicate when they are sick (feeding on different plants depending on the disease) or carry out funeral rituals (they march towards a “cemetery”).

Its social organization is one of the most complex in the animal kingdom, with very intimate social relationships and family ties that only break with death. In captivity, they are animals that learn fast, have great memory and have even been creative - remember the elephant that painted pictures.

3. The pig

Surely many think that the pig is a little neat and intelligent animal. The truth is that it is probably the cleanest pet: pigs refuse to defecate in nearby areas where they live or eat.

Pigs have a high level of intelligence. There are many studies on the cognitive abilities of the pig, which show that they have a good long term memory, learn quickly, have complex social interactions and show empathy. Even in some texts it is suggested that the pig could have a higher intelligence level than the chimpanzee.

2. The bottlenose dolphin

His fame precedes him, the bottlenose dolphin is popularly known as an intelligent cetacean. Your brain is much larger than the human, dominate a complex sound language and they have very intimate social relationships, especially between mother and children.

Many studies support their cognitive abilities, for example, they are highly curious and are able to recognize themselves when they see themselves in a mirror, that is, they are aware of themselves.

The squirrel

It is an animal that has the ability to retain great information graphics and memory, it is also able to perform tricks and develop strategies that allow it to feed and survive. As is known, the squirrels They are small animals that are capable of collecting, storing and rationing food for times when they are in short supply.


They are animals with a ability to memorize and remember very high. Further, the elephants they clean the food they are going to consume and use tools of nature. Well-known are the cases of elephants who learn to follow orders taught to them, but it has also been seen that they are capable of showing understanding and compassion towards smaller species in size and not only by their own.


They are one of the most intelligent and faithful animals that exist, although there are variations between races. Dogs have the ability to understand words, interpret verbal and physical languages, use logical reasoning or have a great memory. The abilities that a dog develops will also depend on his mental stimulation during his first years of life, especially during the first months. In addition to this, they also have abilities to understand man and other species, interacting with them or feeling emotions such as pain, joy, fear or anxiety, very clearly even for us.

The chimpanzee

The chimpanzee is an animal that has a high intellectual capacity, considering the most intelligent after the human being. Chimpanzees are able to use tools, hunt, collect their food, develop social roles, communicate by signals, develop sophisticated language or have great memory. However, what is most surprising about these animals is that they are able to use symbols and give them meaning or reference to other objects or use various sequences of objects to convey ideas. The bonobo It is one of these examples.

Is the smartest marine animal. They are very social animals that form large communities, they are also capable of solve various situations and problemsThey have a sophisticated and complex language, use tools and develop various hunting strategies or to defend themselves. A curiosity is that they practice sex for pleasure.

Find out more about these animals in this other Green Ecology article about What dolphins eat and where they live.


The horse is a very intelligent animalin fact it has been shown that he has a emotional system very similar to that of man. They are curious and adventurous animals and have the ability to remember experiences and places.

As in dogs, their intelligence varies according to the breed and the stimulation they receive. Are very sensitive and emotional animalsThey are able to understand words and understand emotions in human beings and it is a noble and very faithful animal. All these characteristics make them ideal animals for therapies. However, a horse that spends its life locked in a box, as is understandable, it has poor intellectual development.

If you want to read more articles similar to The 10 smartest animals in the world, we recommend that you enter our category of Curiosities of animals.

Related news

The asian elephants They have numerical abilities similar to those of humans. This is the conclusion reached by a group of experts from the Japanese university The Graduate University for Advanced Studies. The study, published in the Journal of Ethology, ensures that the elephant is the animal that is closest to the numerical abilities of human beings.

The principal investigator, Naoko Irie ensures that the understanding of the numbers that elephants have is not altered by the distance, magnitude or proportions of the figures presented, and therefore provides initial experimental evidence that nonhuman animals have counting skills similar to ours.

Previous research has already shown that many animals have some kind of numerical competence, although they do not use language to express it. However, this numerical capacity is mainly based on inaccurate amounts instead of absolute numbers. In this study, the researchers tried to replicate the results of those investigations. To do this, Irie and the rest of the team developed a new method to test how well animals can judge the relative amount.

Thus, they trained Authai, an adult elephant Ueno Zoo in Japan for use with your tube a touch screen computer controlled. He was presented with two figures with different numbers of articles in each of them. Specifically, up to 10 objects among which were images of bananas, watermelons Y apples. The fruits presented different sizes.

Authai received an award every time he chose the figures with the most objects. He did good in 181 of the 217 times He tried. Their ability to pinpoint the figures was not affected by the magnitude, distance or proportion of the comparisons. However, the reaction time was affected by the distance and the relationship between the two figures presented.

In other words, I needed more time to make your selection between figures close together and with size contrasts among his most exaggerated objects. This research is the first that "provides experimental evidence that nonhuman animals have cognitive characteristics partially identical to the way humans tell "- Irie explains.

"Our findings confirm that its performance has not been affected by the distance, magnitude or relationships between the numerical sets that were presented to it" - says the researcher. "But, consistently with respect to what is observed in how humans count, I needed more time to respond to comparisons over shorter distances".

However, experts emphasize that this ability has only been found, for now, in Asian elephants. Because the species separated more than 7.6 million years ago giving rise to African elephant, the researchers say, each species is likely to develop different cognitive abilities.

Other intelligent animals

In the animal world there are some truly intelligent beings. Among them, we can find the ones listed below.

-The octopus: It is considered one of the most intelligent creatures of the sea that are known. And not only from the sea. Researchers consider it the smartest invertebrate in the worldThey have a high degree of neurological and a splendid learning ability. Experts have proven that they have extraordinary abilities to survive and adapt to the environment, achieving, for example, uncovering jars.

-Dove: Although this animal is especially bothered by the noise it emits and its large number in our cities, research has shown that it is a very intelligent bird. Between skills What most attracts attention is its ability to remember images. You can hold them for years. In addition, it is capable of recognize yourself in the mirror and to travel long distances with precise objectives if taught.

-The squirrel: It has a surprising ability to retain graphic information and unforgiving memory. In addition, it has a great ability to perform tricks and develop strategies to feed and survive. One of the characteristics that most attracts the attention of researchers is the intelligent way in which these small rodents collect and store food to stay stocked for long periods of time.

-The pig: Both domestic and wild people have a unmatched ability to adapt to all kinds of ecological conditions and survive. In fact, they do so in virtually all climates and ecosystems that exist. It has become the favorite pet of many people due to this great flexibility. In all the areas in which the human being has introduced it, this animal has known how to defend itself against other species and adapt.

-The Raven: This ruthless-looking bird, which tends to appear in horror movies, is considered one of the smartest birds that exist. They have unique communication methods and with many similarities to humans: they have a great memory, they have a sense of empathy, they are social animals, they have a language highly developed and are able to solve many of the problems that arise.

To give you an idea of ​​the incredible capabilities that exist in the animal kingdom, we bring you a list of the five smartest animals in the world.

In the animal kingdom we can find all kinds of species with unique characteristics, whether by their way of life, their appearance, their abilities or its behavior. Among them there are very intelligent animals with very curious cognitive or social skills and other very interesting abilities ...

Which are the most intelligent animals?

So you have an idea of the incredible capabilities that exist in the animal kingdom, we bring you a list with the Five smartest animals in the world.

The dog is cataloged Man's Best Friend and is used by him as his pet par excellence. They can learn more than 200 words and phrases, which is equal to a two-year-old child, that's why they are used by humans as guides, assistantsand even as cops. Dogs can count, thanks to their ancestors the wolves, because they need know the number of membersof his pack.

Although we have all seen a parrot that speaks, very few people know how they do it. The vocal ability of parrots is not related to their ability to imitate, but is associated to his excellent memory. These birds have the ability to solve problems and distinguish between different faces and human behaviors.

An unexpected member? It turns out that they are very intelligent animals and perfectly suitable for training. In fact, it is believed to be the smartest pet. In addition, they have an impressive ability to concentrate and memorize images. In fact, in a scientific study they taught pigs to play a simple video game and it turned out who played better than dogs.

The second place corresponds to some animals whose intelligence no longer surprises anyone: we talk aboutthe Dolphins. These marine mammals are identified in a mirror, have excellent long term memory and continuously ithey sell creative ways of catching fish They can establish social relationships with humans, even helping them in fishing, and have names for the different members of their groups.

The chimpanzee is the animal more like human. It has a high intellectual development: they use tools, they can hunt and collect food collectively (each member of the group assumes and develops a specific role), they sign to communicate, they have a sophisticated language and a great memory. In addition, they are able to use symbols and establish meaning in relation to objects, as well as combine symbols in a sequence to convey a complex idea.

1. The great apes

Great apes are the closest brothers to the human being. This group is composed of gorillas, orangutans, bonobos and chimpanzees. It is likely that because of this closeness there is a great interest in the study of its characteristics, including its cognitive abilities.

The complex social interactions that these animals carry out, their use of tools to solve problems or the fact that transmit their culture from generation to generation. In captivity it has been shown that they are able to communicate with human beings by signing or revealing their creative abilities.

10. The octopus, the most intelligent invertebrate

The octopus is one of the smarter creatures from the sea they know. As we have seen when I taught you Enteroctopus dofleini, the largest octopus in the world, using their arms, these beings investigate, feel and recognize textures that they later remember to increase their chances of getting food. Within the scientific community, they are considered the smartest invertebrates in the worldThey have a high degree of neurological development and a majestic capacity for learning. In laboratory tests it has been proven that they have extraordinary abilities to survive and adapt to the environment, achieving for example uncovering jars.

9. The dove, from messenger friend to plague

Pigeons are considered a dangerous pest worldwide, so it is one of the species used in laboratories for scientific research. Many of these investigations are destined directly to meet this bird, so today we know many interesting things about pigeons, for example their intellectual abilities. Some of the ones that attract the most attention are the ability to remember images, even years after seeing them, can be recognized in a mirror and if taught, travel long distances. Before the entire technological revolution, this was taken full advantage of for messaging and remote communication.

7. The pig, able to adapt to everything

In the case of both savages and domestics, pigs are very intelligent animals that stand out for their great ability to adapt to all kinds of ecological conditions and survive. In fact, they do so in virtually all climates and ecosystems there are. With many similarities to cats and dogs, among other things, pigs have become the favorite pet of many people due to this great flexibility. Absolutely in all the regions where the pig has been introduced by the human being, this animal has competed with the native species, has finished with many of these and has climbed numerous steps in the chain, which, however hard it may be, ensures its intelligence and its ability to resolve any situation in pursuit of its survival.

4. The orangutan, the undisputed intelligence of hominoids

The great abilities of the apes never ceases to amaze us, although it is not news, they are the smartest animals that exist. They use tools in state, solve various problems, have a very high communicational development, form strong and close social ties that sustain entire communities and much more, all thanks to their surprising cognitive abilities. In addition, all this happens both in captivity and in nature.

3. The dolphin, the most intelligent in the water

This is the kind of smarter marine animal that exists. They are extremely social and form incredible communities, capable of solving all kinds of situations and problems, with a sophisticated and developed language that allows them to communicate with great success, in their natural environment they use tools and various strategies to capture prey or defend themselves from danger and Interestingly, as the 3 most intelligent species of animals in the world do, they practice sex for pleasure.

1. The human being, the cusp of the animal kingdom

Obviously, there is not much to explain. Leaving aside what many call emotional intelligence, the whole question of consciousness by nature, the environment, the rest of the species and everything else, all those unmatched signs of stupidity that our species has, it is impossible to deny that the human being is the most intelligent species that exists, at least on Earth. Whoever says otherwise, is nothing more than a fool ignoring the qualities of our species.

What did you think of this listing? What other species of smart animals do you know