Just How Much Smarter Are Humans?

The more and more scientists continue to study animals, the more intelligent we find some of the species to be. For hundreds of years, humans were thought to be so far superior in intellect to every other species that nobody even thought to compare us on the same spectrum. But as technology has progressed, scientists have found many examples of animals whose intelligence levels have far surpassed any of the previous expectations of the species. One particular example that I’ve always been truly fascinated by is a parrot; his name is Alex, and he was trained and researched by a scientist named Irene Pepperburg.

Alex revolutionized scientists’ previous ideas on animal intelligence because of he could actually understand what humans were saying, process the thoughts, and come up with his own ideas. To this day Alex is one of the smartest animals to ever live, aside from humans. He was able to learn shapes, colors, numbers, and letters at first, which in itself is an accomplishment. But then Alex astonished scientists by learning how to respond to different circumstances, such as things Dr. Pepperburg would tell him or how he was feeling. Alex showed a cognitive ability far above many other parrots, such as recognizing different patterns and possessing the brain ability of a 5 year old child, according to his trainer and owner. The thing that made Alex so exceptional was that he had an emotional level close to a 2 year old child. Sadly, Alex died prematurely at the age of 31; most Grey Parrots live until the age of 60. Alex’s last words to Pepperberg were, “You be good, see you tomorrow. I love you.” These were the same words that he would say every night when Pepperberg left the lab. This shows Alex’s true emotional level, as this is a cognitive statement far above that of a normal parrot or other animal.

There are many other examples of animals taking on human traits of intelligence. Dogs have been known to learn times of arrival for subway and train systems in Russia, which shows they can learn times of day and recognize the trains. Monkeys, such as chimpanzees, and Gorillas (Apes) have been studied by great scientists such as Jane Goodall. They have researched how chimps could use their brains to figure out solutions to their everyday problems by inventing things to help them. There are many other examples out there, and (off the top of my head) there are sea birds who drop mice and shells from high heights onto the rocks down below to kill/break open them. One big case of a species of animals that really shows intelligence close to a human is dolphins, who can learn different things ranging from routines to recognizing people and other places/things. A great example of intelligence is also when groups of animals work together to accomplish things as a colony, pride, or pack. This can be represented as a group of the same animals (like lions) who use tactics to kill their prey as a pride, but this can also be seen as two different species of animals who help each other out by doing favors that benefit both species. An example of this would be the relationship between rhinos and pecking birds. The birds get nutrition from the ticks they pick off and eat from the rhinoceros’s back, and the rhino gets a cleansing.

This and much more points to the fact that certain species of. animals are very smart, and humans aren’t actually that far ahead on a cognitive level. Scientists continue to find more and more special species of animals that are smarter than we previously thought. There are also certain individual animals, like Alex, that show certain traits that we thought only humans had.


This entry was written by Nollan D. and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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