In your opinion, what animal is the most intelligent? Why?In your opinion, what animal is the most intelligent? Why?

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is a book written by a woman pilot, a contemporary of Amelia Earhart, who flew hunters across Africa when big game hunting was popular with the British.  In her recordings of various adventures, this pilot mentioned that she frequently took men who sought elephants to hunt.  After they had shot many elephants she had flown over the area where carcasses had lain a day later, and yet the elephants were gone.  When she circled the area, she still saw no signs of them.  In subsequent years, the same situation held true.  Left only to conclude that the elephants had a burial place for their dead, the pilot was in awe at the depth of their emotional intelligence. Elephants are altruistic, as well.  Once a elephant was instructed to place a huge logs into a hole for it to be a service pole, but the elephant refused to do so at a particular hole.  When men investigated, they found a dog asleep in the hole!  Witnesses have also seen elephants go out of their way to avoid hurting someone, even when they must awkwardly walk backwards. 

According to scientists, elephants have a learning period of ten years.  Parents teach them to use tools, how to feed, and how to find their place in the complex elephant society.  National Georgraphic reported that when a group of very young male elephants were placed with only older females and their young in a wildlife refuge in Africa, they became roguish in their behavior and terrorized the rest of the herd.  Finally, bull elephants were relocated and put in with them.  The older males were able to establish order by disciplining the young bull elephants until they acted according to their station in the herd.

Aristotle once said that elephants are "the beast that passeth all others in wit and in mind," for elephants display a sense of humor and can mimic words.  There is an elephant that can mimic several Korean words, for example. 

Indeed, there seems a depth to the intelligence of an elephant that goes beyond other animals.  For, they remember things for years and years.  One elephant in a Chicago zoo never forgave the keeper of many years who had left because he was not cared for as well in his absence.  When he did return years later, he retaliated against the man.  They quickly learn tasks and are amazing in their mastery of tricks and gentleness with their circus trainers, as well. An unusual animal in appearance, they are equally uncommon in their intelligences.  Walt Disney [in his film "Dumbo"] must have known this uniqueness long before the rest of us!

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This will be a question that will evoke many, many responses.  I think that each animal possesses its own sense of intelligence.  Survival in the natural setting demands that they display their sense of intelligence in order to prosper and live.  Evolutionary thought can help to explain how this intelligence is critical to survival.  Animals who do not display their brightness do not fare as great of a chance to live.  Bearing this in mind, I would say that primates are highly intelligent.  If one accepts the premise of evolutionary thought, in particular that advocated by Darwin, the primate is linked in an evolutionary fashion to human beings. This might be one example of an intelligent animal.  At the same time, the struggle for survival, for nourishment, for life, for companionship might illuminate intelligences within any and all animals.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Dogs are very intelligent. Unlike some of the other intellient animals, they are domesticated and live our lives with us. When I got my first dog as an adult, I read a lot of books, including those by dog-sledder Gary Paulsen. I was amazed at how intelligent they are. On that note, I am amazed at how intelligent my kitten is. I swear she knows where I am about to go, and knows exactly what I say. Yet she still gets herself locked in closets and cupboards. Oh well, so much for intelligence!

I think homosapians are the most intelligent. because..well.. look at what we have created. in second best i would say monkeys but humans are definitely the top because of our ability to think and reason (sometimes). 

udayanga500 | Student

human is the most intelligent animal in the world

krishna-agrawala | Student

Please do remember humans are also animals. Thus it is quite clear and agreed by all that humans are most intelligent among all the species. But when we try to rank other animals according to their intelligence, we are stuck with a big problem - that of deciding on what is intelligence and what is the criteria for measuring it.

Scientists have suggested many different criteria for measuring intelligence. I am giving below some of the criteria used for measuring animal intelligence along with the names of two top ranking animals as per each criteria.

Criteria:Brain weight (grams),

Rank 1: Elephant (4200), Rank 2: Dolphin (1335), Rank 3: Human (1350)

Criteria: Cortical neurons (millions),

Rank 1: human (11500) Rank 2: Elephant (11000)

Criteria: Calculated Complexity,

Rank 1: human (70), Rank 2: Elephant (70)

Criteria:Encephalization Quotient,

Rank 1: Humans (7.6), Rank 2: Dolphin (5.3)

More details of these rankings are available at the website referred below.

Base on the above ranking, I would rank elephants and dolphins as the two most intelligent animals after humans. I personally believe that after humans, dolphins are the most intelligent animals.