Planning and cooperation characterize intelligent animals

Great apes and dolphins are among the most intelligent animals. Octopuses are also intelligent. They can, for example, unscrew the lid of a jam jar, which is considered intelligence-related behavior.

Great apes and dolphins are among the most intelligent animals. Octopuses are also intelligent. They can, for example, unscrew the lid of a jam jar, which is considered intelligence-related behavior.

Nature – Animals

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Intelligence is an elusive phenomenon that is difficult to define.

Despite many years of research, there are still many doubts about what intelligence really is or whether it is even possible to find a comprehensive definition. Now many scientists prefer to talk about different types of intelligence.

Research on animal intelligence is so complicated that it is difficult to assess exactly what the animals actually do when they tackle a particular task.

Monkeys use tools

There are many examples of monkeys using various tools, whether it is to find food or just to make their work easier.

Dig out insects

Chimpanzees and other apes can learn to use branches to reach for food. A narrow stick is a handy tool for picking ants out of an anthill.

Stone as a nutcracker

Capuchin couples in Central and South America often use rocks to crack nuts. They place the nut on a large rock or tree and then hit the nut with a rock.

Stones crushed mussel shells

Macaques in Thailand, for example, use small and large stones to break the shells of, for example, mussels or oysters, which they enjoy. They also have to break crab shells in the same way.

To assess the intelligence of an animal, scientists are often forced to study them based on criteria used to determine human intelligence. These are things like the ability to solve tasks, to work together, to think abstractly and to think ahead.

Research into animal intelligence is also difficult because many complex behaviors are essentially instinctive reactions, programmed into the genes, so to speak, and therefore no need to “think”. The best examples of complex but instinctive behavior can be found in the behavior of social insects when they build their nests.

Breaks out and opens jars

Octopuses are an example of an intelligent invertebrate. In aquariums, it is well known that octopuses have to be locked up securely to prevent them from escaping. They can also unscrew a lid from a jar and extract a cork from a bottle.

Octopuses also know when hard work is likely to pay off. If an unopenable glass jar filled with shrimps is placed in the aquarium, eight octopuses quickly learn that the task is insoluble and then pretend not to see the shrimps. Young octopuses, on the other hand, constantly try to open or break the jar, until they are exhausted. Behaviorists believe that octopuses have the intelligence of a cat or possibly a dog.


The ability to work together has always been considered a sign of advanced intelligence and considered one of the most important reasons why humans have made it this far. But many animals are also capable of working together. Lions, for example, hunt together, and sociable insects such as ants and bees build large colonies together and take care of raising young and gathering food together. A number of bird species work together to guard their young, and some hunt in groups, for example Galapagos hawks, which have a clear division of labor.

Crows can snatch fish from a line by taking turns pulling the line and holding it to prevent it from slipping back, while other birds then catch the fish on land.

Galapagos hawks hunt together. Some screen for prey, others drive the prey to those who decide its demise.

Humans can use mathematics to calculate that hexagons are the most suitable shape for compartmentalizing a given space, just as bees do. The flies only do this because it saves both labor and material.

Despite the difficulties in determining the intelligence of animals, humans have firmly established that some animals are much more intelligent than others. The most intelligent animals are large monkeys and small toothed whales, so to speak dolphins, but porpoises and parrots have also been found to have the ability to solve puzzles and think abstractly.

Owls are often considered wise, but this is not true. Many other birds are much more intelligent.

Owls are stupid

Owls have been used for centuries as a symbol of wisdom and knowledge. But it must be due to their face shape because there is really nothing good about it. Many behaviorists have studied owls and found no trace of special intelligence. For example, it is difficult to tame owls, they have a weak memory and cannot learn complex actions. If the ability of the owl is compared to the ability of, for example, owls or parrots to solve tasks, the ability of the owl turns out to be much weaker.

Published: 29.09.2021

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