What Is The Smartest Animal In The World?

Intelligence is incredibly different to standardize and measure because it takes so many different forms. Even within our own species, intellectual categories and abilities vary greatly, and scientists say attempts to objectively gauge intelligence such as IQ tests generally only form a piece of the whole puzzle. 

In terms of measurable achievement, humans have certainly made a strong case for themselves. However, there's no reason to assume that because we build airplanes, we're superior to birds. After all, birds never have to take off their shoes at the airport. 

Dogs are smarter at smelling

While humans excel in many realms of intellectual ability, there are plenty of areas in which other species abilities exceed our own. For instance, when it comes to the ability to process smells, humans pale in comparison to most other mammals, according to The Independent. For example, PBS tells us that dogs have a sense of smell tens of thousands times greater than our own, meaning they process and understand a world we can't even comprehend. 

James Walker, former director of the Sensory Research Institute at Florida State University, who performed the study measuring dogs' sensory abilities says:  "If you make the analogy to vision, what you and I can see at a third of a mile, a dog could see more than 3,000 miles away and still see as well."

There are so many brilliant animals

So, it's tough to compare species. But there are a few that are generally agreed upon to be at the top of their class. NBC reports that chimps are 98 percent genetically similar to humans, exhibiting tool-making, group hunting, and unique customs along with empathy, altruism, and self-awareness. They even outperform humans on certain memory tests. 

Dolphins are also quite intelligent, demonstrating complex communication abilities, use of tools, and group behavior. Cephalopods like octopi and squid are renowned for their big brains and problem solving ability, and crows are known to be great tool-makers capable of complex social interaction. 

Since it's impossible to quantify and humans get to make the decision, we'll probably always win. But there are a lot of other brilliant animals out there. Sure, we're the only species capable of producing cultural spectacles like Old Town Road, but what would that song be without the "horses in the back", allowing us to ride 'til we can't no more?