The Hindu: Who’s the Smartest of Them All?

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Who’s the smartest of them all?

AREFA TEHSIN

Smarty ants: They are smarter than you think. Photo: K. R. Deepak
The Hindu

Smarty ants: They are smarter than you think. Photo: K. R. Deepak

If you thought humans were the most intelligent species on Earth, you will change your mind after reading this.

Oh yes, although we share 94 per cent of our DNA with them, we don’t like to compare ourselves with the chimpanzees. We laugh our heads off at their antics or get a lump in our throats when they come and give us a long warm hug, but we’re not monkeys!

Well, may be they are intelligent enough to know that it is best for them to sweet talk the humans and be in their good books. And don’t flatter yourself by thinking that they like to be compared to us. They might actually be shocked at the idea!

We may like to think that we’re the smartest of all living beings on earth but we need to think twice. There are many clever and canny animals that don’t kill their own kind — one bomb or bullet at a time — like we do. So who’s more clever, huh?

Let’s check out some of the incredibly intelligent animals that Lady Earth houses:

Elephants That Don’t Forget: Tiny eyes, long noses, flappy ears and fashionably fat. The largest land animal also has the biggest brains of all. No wonder they have formidable memories. They are highly social, can recognise hundreds of sounds and are emotional and touchy too. They use tools in the wild and have been trained by humans even to draw and paint! We’ve used them for 4,000 years in our wars, constructions and parades and to upturn their trunks to salute us. But if one of these gentle giants loses his mind, it takes him just minutes to turn a human settlement into pulp.

Ancient Ants: Ants might look like, well, ants, but they are super powerful and intelligent. Fancy yourself carrying 50 times your body weight? Bah, no big deal for ants. They evolved millions of years before humans, figured it was best for them to live in colonies (they knew there is ‘strength in numbers’ before a wise sage told them), learnt by interactive teaching and even undertook fungus farming, millions of years before humans learnt agriculture!

Crafty Crows: They might not look as dandy as a peacock or sing sweet nothings like a koel but they’re brave, scary-looking and bafflingly intelligent. They’ve found ways to use humans. They slyly come and drop their nuts at traffic lights to break their shells with passing cars. They have uncanny memories and use various tools to solve problems. Remember the thirsty crow story?

Spic-and-Span Pigs: Believe it or not, some studies point that pigs are smarter than dogs. They’re quite adaptable, social, talk to each other and sing to their little ones! They’ve even been trained to move cursor on a computer screen with their snouts. What more, they’re clean too, though they might eat poop at times.

Resourceful Rats: Among other smart animals on our planet is the resourceful and cunning rat that has colonised every continent except Antarctica. According to the movie Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, mice are the most intelligent forms of life. Who knows? We think we’re experimenting on rats, but maybe it’s the rats experimenting on us.

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