For many millennia, we humans have considered ourselves superior, primarily due
to our large brains and our ability to reason. However, we might not be as smart
as we think. Researchers from Australia point out that there are different kinds
of geniuses out there, some even better than us.
Dolphins can communicate
via echolation, while hyenas use smell-based networking sites. Even the marmoset
monkeys have figured out how to have a polite conversation, something many
humans still find hard to follow.
Dr Arthur Saniotis, Visiting Research Fellow with the University's School of
Medical Sciences says that the concept of "ad nauseam", which means humans are
exceptional by virtue and are "the most intelligent species on Earth" might not
be true and that animals are intelligent in their own unique ways.
The idea that humans are exceptional probably emerged about 10,000 years back
when humans decided to take up farming. The feeling of superiority went up a
notch with the arrival of organized religion, which niftily put humans
(especially man) at the center of Life and Universe.
"The belief of human cognitive superiority became entrenched in human philosophy
and sciences. Even Aristotle, probably the most influential of all thinkers,
argued that humans were superior to other animals due to our exclusive ability
to reason," Dr Saniotis added in a
According to Professor Maciej Henneberg, a professor of anthropological and
comparative anatomy from the School of Medical Sciences, humans have
misunderstood animal intelligence.
"Animals offer different kinds of intelligences which have been under-rated due
to humans' fixation on language and technology. These include social and
kinaesthetic intelligence. Some mammals, like gibbons, can produce a large
number of varied sounds - over 20 different sounds with clearly different
meanings that allow these arboreal primates to communicate across tropical
forest canopy. The fact that they do not build houses is irrelevant to the
gibbons," Henneberg added.
Alexandra Horowitz and Ammon Shea had earlier said that although researchers
conduct studies to understand animal intelligence, we might never be able to
really judge how smart they really are because during the tests animals are
being compared to us.
In their article,
published in 2011, Horowitz and Shea list recent research on the subject and
explain how animals have mastered the environment around them. Horowitz is the
author of "Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell and Know," and Shea is the
author of "The Phone Book: The Curious History of the Book That Everyone Uses
But No One Reads."
For all we know, Douglas Adams might have been right all along; mice
could be the smartest creatures and probably conducting experiments on us.