Bodies that work with the Earth’s
magnetic field to determine location. Female-only societies. Telling whether
you’re a friend or a jerk there to make trouble with just one whiff. Homes
efficient they keep one steady temperature all the time. No, we’re not
talking about new X-Men or other comic book characters, we’re talking about
animals with skills we can only dream of.
These seven animals are way
smarter than us — just another reason to pay some respect when we
encounter them in the wild.
While most humans need several types of maps and a
compass to find their way home after a long journey, the homing pigeon can
return from extremely long distances (more than 1,100 miles) without any
Despite their size, the world’s many varieties of
ants have amazing skills. One of the most impressive is the
mycocepurus smithii from the Amazon, a super feminist species that
has developed the ability to reproduce via cloning — dispensing with
both sex and males — to evolve into an all-female breed.
research from the University of Arizona, it’s not clear when the
change happened, but by reproducing without sex, the ants avoid the
energetic cost of producing males and double the number of
reproductive females produced each generation.
They’re huge, and sometimes they seem tired and
slow. But it’s no surprise that this mammal’s peculiar nose is
Research from the University of St. Andrews suggests that
elephants can keep track of up to 30 absent members of their family
by sniffing out their scent and building a mental map of where they
are. How useful would this little feature be for moms with several
Even better, according to
another study by the same University, elephants can tell whether
a human is friendly or a threat by their scent and color of
clothing. So good luck trying to fool them.
In Zimbabwe, the termite species
Macrotermes michaelseni has developed a precise technique to farm a specific
fungus they feed on. As this fungus can only grow at 87 degrees Fahrenheit,
and temperatures outside range from 104 degrees Fahrenheit during day and 35
degrees Fahrenheit at night, the termites have come up with a system to keep
the temperature steady in their mounds by constantly opening and closing
heating and cooling vents.
Much has been said about the intelligence of
chimps, with some people claiming they’re geniuses and others saying
they’re only as smart as a three year old kid. Of course, the actual facts
fall in between.
the same sequence of numbers, small chimps could recall them, outperforming
humans. Not too shabby.
Contrary to the massive amount of
animals and species facing extinction, crows are thriving, reproducing
all over the world, with the small exceptions of the Arctic and the Southern
tip of South America.
However, their amazing capacity for fast adaptation and ability to
live in cities show they could be a lot more than they are today. And
who knows, one day they might top us.
Ok, again, not officially smarter than humans yet, but
dolphins have recently been declared the world’s second most intelligent
creatures (after humans). A zoologist from Emory University in Atlanta,
Georgia, according to
The Times, has even gone far to say that their “neuroanatomy suggests
psychological continuity between humans and dolphins,” and called for
reconsideration of human-dolphin interactions. Another scientist from the
Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles
has even called them ‘non-human persons.’
So yes, dolphins are
smarter than chimps and with communication skills similar to humans’. Their
brains are only second in mass to the human brain, making them cultural
animals with distinct personalities with the ability to think about the
future, among other faculties. How long will these clever animals
put up with human abuse? We hope not too long.