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Celebrating the Diverse Intelligence of Animals, Big and Small

From the tiniest insects to the largest mammals, animals display a wide range of intelligence and cognitive abilities. These abilities are crucial to their survival in the wild, and we believe it’s important to celebrate and protect them.

Take the humble honeybee, for example. These tiny insects are not only vital pollinators, but they also have a remarkable ability to communicate with each other through a dance language. Through their intricate movements, bees are able to convey important information about food sources, locations, and more. Moving up the scale, we find dolphins and elephants, which are widely recognized as some of the most intelligent animals on the planet. These creatures possess highly developed cognitive abilities, including the ability to use language, recognize themselves in mirrors, and exhibit empathy and altruism.

Let’s look at some of the smartest animals across the globe:


The closest animal relative to humans and one of the smartest animals across the globe! They use at least 66 hand gestures to communicate with each other in the wild, they have proved abilities to problem solve and they share almost 99% of their DNA with humans! On certain memory tests chimps have even beaten the humans in the study!


Crows have been tested on problem-solving and in a lot of cases have proven to be just as good or even better at it than humans! Even using complicated methods such as water displacement that had young children stuck! They have also shown the ability to find creative solutions such as dropping nuts on a road so that cars drive over them and crack them open. A 2020 scientific study also believes that crows operate some self-awareness, and their intelligence may be on par with monkeys and great apes.


Elephants have the largest brain of any land animal! Research has shown elephants can understand the difference between languages and also whether a man, woman or child is speaking. Elephants have also proved they can use tools to gain food. However, the most unique thing about elephants’ intelligence is that they show empathy, they comfort each other with vocal and physical forms. They have also shown they mourn their dead and grieve, even sometimes showing signs of trying to bury the body of the deceased.


Octopuses have the largest brain to body ratio of any invertebrate. They have been tested to see if they can differentiate between two people, having one person act kindly and the other uninterested and the octopus then showed affection and preference to the kind person. They have also been recorded using coconut shells to shield themselves, learning from mistakes, navigating mazes and escaping from “escape proof” tanks.


Dolphins have passed one measure of intelligence known as the mirror-self recognition test where they see if an animal recognizes that it is their own reflection in the mirror and not another animal of their species. Many animals do not pass this test and it proves the dolphin’s level of intelligence. They also work well together to catch food, they group in a circle around fish and take turns feeding.

We encourage you to learn more about the remarkable cognitive abilities of animals and to join us in celebrating and protecting them. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of animals great and small.

Thank you for your continued support.

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