History Main / AmplifiedAnimalAptitude

19th Dec '16 4:26:31 PM dotheroar
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19th Dec '16 4:25:49 PM dotheroar
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There is some TruthInTelevision, see the real life section.

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There Humans can overestimate the intelligence of real animals, which is some TruthInTelevision, known as anthropomorphizing, see the real life section.



[[folder: Real Life ]]

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[[folder: Real Life ]]Other]]



* Many of the problems inherent in trying to determine the intelligence of an animal species mirror the problems of trying to [[UsefulNotes/IQTesting measure the intelligence of a person]]: "What does 'intelligent' even mean", and "How do you judge the difference between a creature following a set pattern of behavior and a creature simply taking an obvious MundaneSolution?"
** Many neurologists have begun to abandon the idea that brain size, or even ''relative brain size'', determines how intelligent an animal is: certain species of rodents have brain-to-body size ratios larger than that of humans, and some species display extreme intelligence despite having tiny brains (though moderately sized compared to their bodies). Recent research has suggested that what matters more than the size of the brain is the density of connections between neurons, and how much of the brain is devoted to higher level functions like cognition and memory.
** There have been studies showing that ''slime moulds'' can navigate mazes. Now, obviously, they don't have brains so they can't be intelligent in the way we understand it, but what it ''does'' mean is that there is far more to the issue of intelligence than being able to perform tricks on command.
** Many animals once considered less intelligent have been reevaluated in recent years with surprising results, mostly because of inadequate testing methods that essentially assumed AllAnimalsAreDogs. \\
\\
For instance, science once rated cats as fairly stupid creatures, as they repeatedly failed intelligence tests that other creatures like dogs, horses, and even rats easily solved. It took several decades to conclusively prove what cat owners had been telling scientists the whole time: cats were failing these tests not because they ''couldn't'' solve them, but because they didn't ''want'' to solve them. Cats are notoriously stubborn and prideful, and nearly all animal cognitive tests at the time involved training the animals to associate solving the tests with a food reward, or demonstrate word recognition and memory by performing behaviors on command. Eventually it was realized that cats simply [[FridgeBrilliance assumed (correctly) that the scientists would most likely feed them even if they did nothing]], and that while the cat remembered what it was supposed to do when told to "sit", it just plain didn't feel like sitting, and might have even stood up out of obstinance. Quite simply, cats had demonstrated their intelligence all along by successfully [[TakeAThirdOption taking a third option]] that didn't require doing something stupid for a treat, got them fed anyway, and made the annoying guys with clipboards go bother the dogs, horses, and rats instead.
** Tool use is an interesting measure that is actually far less clearly defined than you might think. For example, some apes have been observed using sticks to reach into small holes for bugs and other food or even as basic spears. Many animals can be trained or otherwise taught to use human made devices. But while these traits certainly point towards an intelligence (rather than pure instinct), they don't necessarily prove sentience (self-awareness).
** One of the most common problems encountered in Animal Behavior research is there is a tendancy for [[MovingTheGoalposts the definition of "true intelligence" to be redefined]] when it is discovered that certain animals meet those criteria- in the past tool use, being able to anticipate another entities's actions, altruism and morality, forethought, and translatable proto-language have all been proven to be present in numerous species, then declared as insufficient to prove "true intelligence".
** Some animals that have immense strength were completely overlooked by the scientific community in terms of intelligence, because they can solve problems with brute force rather than with problem solving. Case and point, some species mantis shrimp can punch things as hard a 22. caliber bullet yet have a level of intelligence comparable to ''seven year old human.''
** Some philosophers have argued that the true measure of sentience is the ability to understand abstract concepts well enough to ask the question "why?". Of course, that means that barriers to communication may prevent us from being able to recognize true sentience in other creatures for now.
** The principal lesson to note here of course is that no two scientists or philosophers have ever been able to agree on what "sentience", "sapience" or "self-awareness" even ''are'' (besides intentionally vague gut-feeling words popularised by ''Star Trek''). The increasingly popular point of view is that there is in fact no such single property at all; whatever humans have is combinatorial, and exists in degrees.
* Ever think people who feel inferior to spiders are ''overestimating'' them? Think ''again''. It's a fact that spiders who have been living around humans for a while ''do'' pick up most of the language and ''are'' smarter than some people.
** Tarantulas can have distinct personalities and can apparently bond to their owners. For example they will often refuse food that isn't provided by the person who normally feeds them. Despite being ambush predators, they can demonstrate cunning when chasing prey. For example some individuals will move to the side of tank rather than directly ambushing their prey, because they bugs they are fed will normally lap the tank looking for an exit.
* Koko the gorilla is capable of communicating with emotional nuance in American Sign Language.
** As well as use of the language in untaught, novel ways. For instance, she referred to a gorilla she strongly disliked as "bad toilet," among other names. She also invented terms for things, like "drink fruit" for watermelon. Scientists estimate Koko's IQ at around 70-95. If her IQ is 80, that makes her smarter than more than 9% of humans. They ''are'' intelligent, but not in a 100% "human" way. Tool use is just one thing that people like to fixate on.
** However, many other behavioral researchers don't think Koko is nearly as intelligent or communicative as her trainer (whose livelihood basically depends on it) claims, and people who actually know sign language who have watched video of Koko deny that she's really signing so much as mainly pointing at things.
* In an episode of the RealityShow ''It's Me Or The Dog'', super-intelligent dogs were featured, hilariously stealing the peanut butter as their trainer watched through hidden cameras.
* Goldfish -- you know, the ones with a "memory of three seconds" -- are social. Social animals generally evolve to be smarter than solitary animals. Goldfish can recognize faces and associate them and a few words ("Hi fishies!" for example) with food, post sentries when they have big enough schools in big enough tanks, and like watching TV. And they can learn tricks. It does take patience and they're not exactly bright, but they're not ambulatory plants by any means.
** ''Series/MythBusters'' did a segment on the alleged three-second memory of goldfish. The fish were able to perform tricks and navigate mazes months after they were taught.
* OlderThanTelevision with [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clever_Hans Clever Hans]]. Domestic animals can be incredibly empathetic with humans. Note that current studies on animal cognition almost always involve extensive controls to avoid "the Clever Hans effect": for instance, tests are usually set up so that they receive as little cuing as possible (often the animal can't see or hear the examiner while they're figuring out the answer).
* There was a documentary on canine intelligence on TV a while ago, which centered on a Jack Russell who could do math (as it turned out, it was the same situation as with Clever Hans, with the dog reading his owner's body language). There was also a bit about some researchers that were studying dog intelligence and one of the experiments involved a touch screen and a treat dispenser. Images would be shown on the screen in random combinations and positions, with one 'positive' and one 'negative'. If the dog nosed the 'positive' image it got a treat, if it nosed the negative one it got nothing. Not only did the dogs quickly memorize which was which, but also when a new image was shown on screen with an established 'negative' one, the dog was able to instantly work out that the new image was 'positive'. It might not sound that impressive, but it proves that dogs are capable of reasoning, and fast reasoning at that, which a lot of people think to be beyond them.
** Some breeds are smarter then others. Lap dogs such as Shih Tzus, pugs, etc. are notoriously dim, but then you have breeds like German Shepherds and Border Collies which are smarter then some humans.
** That phrase "lap dogs" is the important one. Working breeds (anything named "shepherd", for instance) are smarter than breeds meant purely for companionship, because they were specifically bred to be smart enough to learn and follow commands; dumber breeds come from less selective programs that were usually focused on appearance rather than smarts.
** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSNYowgqlac Terriers can nod their head as a 'yes' in response to questions.]]
* Cephalopods are geniuses. Octopodes can tell the difference between individual humans who interact with them, have hundreds of different moods and distinct personalities (which they reflect upon by changing their skin color) and can learn how to navigate mazes and open jars.
** Hell, octopodes understand the concept of deceit. One octopus managed to climb out of its tank, enter the crabs tank, eat the crabs--and then go ''back'' to its tank and [[ObfuscatingStupidity play dumb]].
** [[http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8408233.stm One species carries coconut shells around to hide in]].
** The mimic octopus- the closest thing on the planet to a Shapeshifter- appears to adopt different disguises based on the creatures around it, in a natural invocation of IKnowWhatYouFear and (highly effective) MobileShrubbery.
* Rats, for rodents, are very clever, being able to navigate mazes, (and how buttons and levers to get around them work), can learn by trial and error, and can be taught tricks. It's why they are often considered the ideal lab animal by behavioral science researchers. [[note]]Medical researchers tend ''not'' to consider cleverness a good trait in a lab animal, hence a tendency towards using mice instead.[[/note]] As noted on the subject of goldfish, part of this is because rats are highly social animals. This is also why they make such good pets; they can be litter trained, and learn to recognize humans as a food source and someone to play with- but they still need contact with other rats, so get two.
** Rats are one of the few nonhuman animals known to show clear signs of empathy. In one experiment, rats learned how to free a companion from a small cage. They continued to do so even when there was absolutely no benefit to themselves - no food reward, no signal for praise, and even in cases wherein the freed rat would be released into a different enclosure from the rescuer (so no playmate).
* Squirrels are the chief rivals of rats for the title of "smartest rodent", as demonstrated by their phenomenal ability to outsmart the protections people use for their birdfeeders and infiltrate even well-sealed attics.
* Orangutans are notorious [[http://www.counterpunch.org/hribal12162008.html escape artists.]] They've discovered how to scale electric fences, how to pick locks, and (possibly most importantly) how to hide efforts at the previous two things from zookeepers. Give an orangutan a screwdriver, and it will hide it, then dismantle its cage with it once you're gone. Recently, a few have even been [[http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57565393-37/orangutans-monkey-around-with-ipads-at-zoo/ taught how to use an iPad]].
* Reptiles. They may have smaller brains than mammals, but they're ''much'' more intelligent than we give them credit for. In the past, many attempts to gauge reptile intelligence came to the conclusion that they were [[TheDitz incredibly stupid]], but it turned out that this was only because reptiles see and evaluate the world differently from the way we mammals do. You can't train a snake to do something in the same way you can train a cat, because you need to understand how a snake's brain and senses make it perceive the world. More recent studies, reflecting on this idea, have shown that, among other things, corn snakes are able to navigate mazes, monitor lizards engage in play behavior and can distinguish numbers up to six, crocodiles learn faster than lab rats with little conditioning, and leopard geckos have distinct personalities. Smart, indeed.
** Here's a scary fact: reptiles have smaller brains than mammals yet are just as intelligent. Therefore, if a reptile and mammal had the same brain size, the reptile would be much smarter.
** [[http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/tetrapod-zoology/2012/09/17/amazing-social-life-of-green-iguana/ Green Iguana]] babies are very social with their hatchmates, forming pods to travel together which have leaders who seem to look out for the rest. When hawks show up, the smaller females freeze in cover or flee; the larger males run in front of the hawks or [[BigBrotherInstinct cover their sisters' bodies with their own]].
* [[ThreateningShark Sharks]]. Once thought of as mindless killing machines, they are now known to possess an intelligence close to that of the seals that they feed upon. Sharks will engage in play behavior and can eventually grow to recognize the humans who feed them.
* [[SapientCetaceans Dolphins]]. A 2009 assessment of their cognitive ability has classified them as ''[[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman non-human people]]''. Different pods of dolphins have their own ''dialects'' of echolocation communication, which serves as a limited language. Each pod has its own hunting strategies, which it passes down generation to generation by teaching their young how to do it. In particular, one famous pod of orcas near South America has learned how to catch sea lions by beaching themselves on the surf, while another has learned to use sponges as nose-guards while digging in abrasive sand. A study showed that dolphins have specific patterns of echolocation that are used to refer to individuals - in other words, they use ''names'' for each other.
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elephant_cognition Elephants]] are among the most solidly established candidates for Earth's runner-up most intelligent species. They have developed their own morality, and perform acts of altruism. There's a story about an elephant matriarch who charged a camel herder, broke his leg... and then carried him into the shade and stood guard over him. They can also use tools with their trunk, which acts as a hand. They are also one of only a few species that have demonstrated the ability to recognize their own reflection in a mirror, something most housecats fail to comprehend.
** They can also [[RoaringRampageOfRevenge seek revenge]]. In one recorded instance, after a group of humans killed its mate, an elephant killed the cattle on the humans' farm, because it knew that the humans ''liked'' the cattle. A less intelligent animal would just kill the humans. But this elephant decided to kill something that was ''close'' to the humans in the same way that they killed something that was ''close'' to it. CruelMercy at its finest.
** Many animals mourn dead friends and family members, but elephants have ''rituals'' around death. They bury their dead, in a way - and they sometimes bury dead ''humans'' in the same way. When encountering the bones of their own kind, elephants have frequently been observed to become reverently quiet, in some cases delicately handling the remains. If you wanted to feel even ''worse'' about poachers and the ivory trade, when many members of a herd are killed, the survivors are traumatized, and without elders around to model behavior and teach them to cope, young ones grow up violent.
* Scientists have known for a long time that monkeys possess the ability to understand fairly complex games and the idea of a fair trade, but they've recently discovered that not only do some species of monkeys recognize when they're being cheated, they are not in the least bit happy about it. In [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KSryJXDpZo this video]], two monkeys are given disparate rewards for the same task. The monkey getting cucumber is perfectly happy with it until he realizes the second monkey is getting ''[[SeriousBusiness grapes]]''.
* A study involving monkeys showed that males were willing to trade in fruit juice (both a currency and a much-loved treat) for photographs of a female's backside. This shows 1) that they understand the concept of prioritization, and 2) that they recognize flat projections for what they represent. Among other things, obviously.
* Raccoons are very intelligent, and have humanlike hands they can pick things up with. It should be noted that raccoons are derived from a common ancestor of bears, cats and dogs, and possess attributes of all of them. They have been known to unlock doors, open jars, and steal things the find interesting. Groups of raccoons will often scheme together to get food. If a human decides to feed a raccoon he will often come back to the place it happened at the same time the following day, and may well bring some of his friends with him. [[note]]These groups can get very large depending on how many friends the raccoon has told about the food source.[[/note]] If the person who gave them food has done so for a while and happens not to be home one day, it's not uncommon for raccoons to try to break in, and help themselves. Raccoons can be domesticated to an extent; they can be trained to clap and fetch things, unlock doors, and open jars. When kept as pets alongside other animals, they clearly enjoy teasing dogs and cats.
* Parrots are highly intelligent- flocks of parrots in the wild develop rudimentary languages that vary between flocks, and many domestic parrots learn to ask for their favorite foods. While not quite [[PollyWantsAMicrophone smart enough to carry on a full conversation]], Polly may indeed ask for a cracker, not to mention cuss at you with a general understanding of the concept if you don't have any. A certain African Grey parrot, Alex, was trained by Dr. Irene Pepperberg at Brandeis University to count up to six, correctly identify the type, color, material and shape of objects, and was showing a basic grasp of abstract concepts like what was "same" or "different" about two shapes by the time he died. He could even suss out trick questions (asking "What's different?" about two identical shapes got a response of "None"). According to Irene Pepperberg's research, some parrots and other psittaciform birds can be taught to speak simple English intelligibly instead of mindlessly repeating words.
** Highlights of the parrot world include the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kea kea]], a mountain-dwelling parrot from New Zealand. Flocks have been known to happily take apart the cars of inattentive skiers, and [[http://www.animalliberationfront.com/Philosophy/Morality/Speciesism/2ParrotWarningStories.htm a parrot]] who saved the life of a baby by screaming, flapping his wings, and saying "mama baby" over and over until the babysitter realized the baby was choking.
** Alex the grey parrot was a bit of a spectacle in his life due to how well he learned not only language, but concepts. He's also the only animal ever recorded to ask an existential question: while learning about colors, he asked what color he was. It's how he learned the color grey.
* [[CleverCrows Corvids, especially ravens]] are also ''incredibly'' intelligent, to the point of rivaling elephants and dolphins for the title of 2nd most intelligent animal on Earth. Experiments that they are highly social creatures with a rudimentary, ''translatable'', language[[note]]with "words" for different situations, nouns, and adjectives- "dog", "big scary dog", "several dogs", "dog stealing my stash"[[/note]] capable of formulating long term plans, MacGyvering novel tools to solve unfamiliar problems, and planing and executing complex {{Batman Gambit}}s based on their observations of other animals- including humans and their [[XanatosSpeedChess fellow ravens]]. They can also reason about [[IKnowYouKnowIKnow what humans and other ravens are aware of]]- for instance, being ProperlyParanoid while doing the raven equivalent of looking up and whistling around a raven who saw them hiding a stash, then [[KansasCityShuffle feigning protectiveness]] about a [[NothingToSeeHere random pile of leaves]].
** Crows in Japan and California have been seen using passing cars to crack walnuts; seagulls have been witnessed doing the same, but with clams and the like. They even go to traffic crossings and only deposit and retrieve the nuts when it's safe.
** Thanks to the massive influx of vending machines Japan has built, crows have actually figured out by watching us that if you put spare change in (though they haven't figured out how much) and press a button, food will come out. That's right, crows in Japan ''know how to use a vending machine.''
** Among other things, adult ravens have been shown to be able to solve simple physics problems (they'd be great at ''VideoGame/HalfLife2)''. In a CrowningMomentOfFunny, some appear to not like pulleys, however: apparently pulling something ''down'' to make something else come ''up'' is both InsaneTrollLogic and [[ClarkesThirdLaw vile human sorcery]].
** They can also learn from each other. In one experiment, two ravens were given a hole with some food and a piece of wire each; one got a wire that had been bent into a hook, while the other got a useless straight wire. The one with the hook quickly figured out that he could use the wire to fish the food out of the hole, but the other one topped him when noticed that ''his'' hook was not a hook at all, and bent his wire into an identical tool before going after the food.
** They're also pretty good at planning ahead. Studies show that when food is tied to a perch, other, less bright birds will try to fly away with it, while corvids will drop the food because they know they can come back later.
** Ravens recruit other ravens to help them when they have found a good food source. When the discoverer returns to the roost (one in Newborough, Anglesey is one of the largest in Europe, 6000 birds at least.) in the evening, it will take part in displays and stunts with other birds (Ravens love to play and show off their aerobatic skills). He will have the energy to be more elaborate and longer-lasting than other birds, who will see this, recognize that he has fed well, and roost in the same tree as him, following him in the morning when he returns to the food. This way, he has a big mob of allies to protect the food source from competitors until they have picked it clean. Other species of ravens and corvids that form smaller, more tight-knit flocks will communicate via calls when they find something of interest or are in need of backup.
* Predators in general. A need to outsmart their prey means that no matter what type of animal they are, they are all intelligent, often frighteningly so. It is no coincidence that most of the animals on this page are predators or descended from predators. The most terrifying example is the fact marine predators (fish and cetaceans especially) can often communicate ''across different species'' in order to join forces in a coordinated assault on prey.
* Monkeys are capable of ''lying''. One of the monkey enclosures at Edinburgh Zoo is set up to allow a great deal of study into the monkeys' social behaviour to be carried out, and the keepers have noted not just that the monkeys have different calls for different foodstuffs, but that the first monkey outside, on seeing that a particular favourite has been provided, will sometimes give the call for a less popular meal in order to try and keep it for itself. In the wild, monkeys have also been filmed making the call for a specific predator - say, a snake - when there's no snake in sight, to distract the rest of the troop long enough for the monkey to either hide some prized food or quickly eat it.
* Many people apologize to their dogs. Subverted by the fact that the reason they assume that dogs understand English is because their dog "smiles" when the owner says "I love you".

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* Many of the problems inherent in trying to determine the intelligence of an animal species mirror the problems of trying to [[UsefulNotes/IQTesting measure the intelligence of a person]]: "What does 'intelligent' even mean", All sports mascots and "How do you judge the difference between a creature following a set pattern of behavior school mascots.
* Animal brand mascots as well.
* The Easter Bunny
and a creature simply taking an obvious MundaneSolution?"
** Many neurologists have begun to abandon the idea
Santa's reindeer.

[[folder: Real Life ]]
* Most small children believe
that brain size, or even ''relative brain size'', determines how intelligent an animal is: certain species of rodents have brain-to-body size ratios larger than storks are considered delivery people and specialize in delivering babies- it's a parents explanation for where babies come from if a small child asks.
* Most small children believe
that of humans, and some species display extreme intelligence despite having tiny brains (though moderately sized compared to their bodies). Recent research has suggested that what matters more than the size of the brain is the density of connections between neurons, and how much of the brain is devoted to higher level functions like cognition and memory.
** There have been studies showing that ''slime moulds'' can navigate mazes. Now, obviously,
all reindeer are as smart as Santa's reindeer and, if they don't have brains so they can't be intelligent in the way we understand it, but what it ''does'' mean is a rabbit, that there is far more all rabbits are as smart as The Easter Bunny.
* A few people who read Dr. Pepperburgs papers misunderstood, thinking she meant that Alex comprehends enough speech
to the issue of intelligence than being able to perform tricks on command.
** Many animals once
be considered less intelligent have been reevaluated in recent years with surprising results, mostly because of inadequate testing methods that essentially assumed AllAnimalsAreDogs. \\
\\
For instance, science once rated cats as fairly stupid creatures, as they repeatedly failed intelligence tests that other creatures like dogs, horses, and even rats easily solved. It took several decades to conclusively prove what cat owners had been telling scientists the whole time: cats were failing these tests not because they ''couldn't'' solve them, but because they didn't ''want'' to solve them. Cats are notoriously stubborn and prideful, and nearly all animal cognitive tests at the time involved training the animals to associate solving the tests with
a food reward, or demonstrate word recognition and memory by performing behaviors on command. Eventually it was realized that cats simply [[FridgeBrilliance assumed (correctly) that the scientists would most likely feed them even if they did nothing]], and that while the cat remembered what it was supposed to do when told to "sit", it just plain didn't feel like sitting, and might have even stood up out of obstinance. Quite simply, cats had demonstrated their intelligence all along by successfully [[TakeAThirdOption taking a third option]] that didn't require doing something stupid for a treat, got them fed anyway, and made the annoying guys with clipboards go bother the dogs, horses, and rats instead.
** Tool use is an interesting measure that is actually far less clearly defined than you might think. For example, some apes have been observed using sticks to reach into small holes for bugs and other food or even as basic spears. Many animals can be trained or otherwise taught to use human made devices. But while these traits certainly point towards an intelligence (rather than pure instinct), they don't necessarily prove sentience (self-awareness).
** One of the most common problems encountered in Animal Behavior research is there is a tendancy for [[MovingTheGoalposts the definition of "true intelligence" to be redefined]] when it is discovered that certain animals meet those criteria- in the past tool use, being able to anticipate another entities's actions, altruism and morality, forethought, and translatable proto-language have all been proven to be present in numerous species, then declared as insufficient to prove "true intelligence".
** Some animals that have immense strength were completely overlooked by the scientific community in terms of intelligence, because they can solve problems with brute force rather than with problem solving. Case and point, some species mantis shrimp can punch things as hard a 22. caliber bullet yet have a level of intelligence comparable to ''seven year old human.''
** Some philosophers have argued that the true measure of sentience is the ability to understand abstract concepts well enough to ask the question "why?". Of course, that means that barriers to communication may prevent us from being able to recognize true sentience in other creatures for now.
normal individual.
** The principal lesson to note here of course is that no two scientists or philosophers have ever been able to agree on what "sentience", "sapience" or "self-awareness" even ''are'' (besides intentionally vague gut-feeling words popularised by ''Star Trek''). The increasingly popular point of view is that there is in fact no such single property at all; whatever humans have is combinatorial, and exists in degrees.
* Ever think people who feel inferior to spiders are ''overestimating'' them? Think ''again''. It's a fact that spiders who have been living around humans for a while ''do'' pick up most of the language and ''are'' smarter than some people.
** Tarantulas can have distinct personalities and can apparently bond to their owners. For example they will often refuse food that isn't provided by the person who normally feeds them. Despite being ambush predators, they can demonstrate cunning when chasing prey. For example some individuals will move to the side of tank rather than directly ambushing their prey, because they bugs they are fed will normally lap the tank looking for an exit.
*
same misunderstanding happens with Koko the gorilla is capable of communicating with emotional nuance in American Sign Language.
** As well
as use of the language in untaught, novel ways. For instance, she referred to a gorilla she strongly disliked as "bad toilet," among other names. She also invented terms for things, like "drink fruit" for watermelon. Scientists estimate Koko's IQ at around 70-95. If her IQ is 80, that makes her smarter than more than 9% of humans. They ''are'' intelligent, but not in a 100% "human" way. Tool use is just one thing that people like to fixate on.
** However, many other behavioral researchers don't think Koko is nearly as intelligent or communicative as her trainer (whose livelihood basically depends on it) claims, and people who actually know sign language who have watched video of Koko deny that she's really signing so much as mainly pointing at things.
* In an episode of the RealityShow ''It's Me Or The Dog'', super-intelligent dogs were featured, hilariously stealing the peanut butter as their trainer watched through hidden cameras.
* Goldfish -- you know, the ones with a "memory of three seconds" -- are social. Social animals generally evolve to be smarter than solitary animals. Goldfish can recognize faces and associate them and a few words ("Hi fishies!" for example) with food, post sentries when they have big enough schools in big enough tanks, and like watching TV. And they can learn tricks. It does take patience and they're not exactly bright, but they're not ambulatory plants by any means.
** ''Series/MythBusters'' did a segment on the alleged three-second memory of goldfish. The fish were able to perform tricks and navigate mazes months after they were taught.
* OlderThanTelevision with [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clever_Hans Clever Hans]]. Domestic animals can be incredibly empathetic with humans. Note that current studies on animal cognition almost always involve extensive controls to avoid "the Clever Hans effect": for instance, tests are usually set up so that they receive as little cuing as possible (often the animal can't see or hear the examiner while they're figuring out the answer).
* There was a documentary on canine intelligence on TV a while ago, which centered on a Jack Russell who could do math (as it turned out, it was the same situation as with Clever Hans, with the dog reading his owner's body language). There was also a bit about some researchers that were studying dog intelligence and one of the experiments involved a touch screen and a treat dispenser. Images would be shown on the screen in random combinations and positions, with one 'positive' and one 'negative'. If the dog nosed the 'positive' image it got a treat, if it nosed the negative one it got nothing. Not only did the dogs quickly memorize which was which, but also when a new image was shown on screen with an established 'negative' one, the dog was able to instantly work out that the new image was 'positive'. It might not sound that impressive, but it proves that dogs are capable of reasoning, and fast reasoning at that, which a lot of people think to be beyond them.
** Some breeds are smarter then others. Lap dogs such as Shih Tzus, pugs, etc. are notoriously dim, but then you have breeds like German Shepherds and Border Collies which are smarter then some humans.
** That phrase "lap dogs" is the important one. Working breeds (anything named "shepherd", for instance) are smarter than breeds meant purely for companionship, because they were specifically bred to be smart enough to learn and follow commands; dumber breeds come from less selective programs that were usually focused on appearance rather than smarts.
** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSNYowgqlac Terriers can nod their head as a 'yes' in response to questions.]]
* Cephalopods are geniuses. Octopodes can tell the difference between individual humans who interact with them, have hundreds of different moods and distinct personalities (which they reflect upon by changing their skin color) and can learn how to navigate mazes and open jars.
** Hell, octopodes understand the concept of deceit. One octopus managed to climb out of its tank, enter the crabs tank, eat the crabs--and then go ''back'' to its tank and [[ObfuscatingStupidity play dumb]].
** [[http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8408233.stm One species carries coconut shells around to hide in]].
** The mimic octopus- the closest thing on the planet to a Shapeshifter- appears to adopt different disguises based on the creatures around it, in a natural invocation of IKnowWhatYouFear and (highly effective) MobileShrubbery.
* Rats, for rodents, are very clever, being able to navigate mazes, (and how buttons and levers to get around them work), can learn by trial and error, and can be taught tricks. It's why they are often considered the ideal lab animal by behavioral science researchers. [[note]]Medical researchers tend ''not'' to consider cleverness a good trait in a lab animal, hence a tendency towards using mice instead.[[/note]] As noted on the subject of goldfish, part of this is because rats are highly social animals. This is also why they make such good pets; they can be litter trained, and learn to recognize humans as a food source and someone to play with- but they still need contact with other rats, so get two.
** Rats are one of the few nonhuman animals known to show clear signs of empathy. In one experiment, rats learned how to free a companion from a small cage. They continued to do so even when there was absolutely no benefit to themselves - no food reward, no signal for praise, and even in cases wherein the freed rat would be released into a different enclosure from the rescuer (so no playmate).
* Squirrels are the chief rivals of rats for the title of "smartest rodent", as demonstrated by their phenomenal ability to outsmart the protections people use for their birdfeeders and infiltrate even well-sealed attics.
* Orangutans are notorious [[http://www.counterpunch.org/hribal12162008.html escape artists.]] They've discovered how to scale electric fences, how to pick locks, and (possibly most importantly) how to hide efforts at the previous two things from zookeepers. Give an orangutan a screwdriver, and it will hide it, then dismantle its cage with it once you're gone. Recently, a few have even been [[http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57565393-37/orangutans-monkey-around-with-ipads-at-zoo/ taught how to use an iPad]].
* Reptiles. They may have smaller brains than mammals, but they're ''much'' more intelligent than we give them credit for. In the past, many attempts to gauge reptile intelligence came to the conclusion that they were [[TheDitz incredibly stupid]], but it turned out that this was only because reptiles see and evaluate the world differently from the way we mammals do. You can't train a snake to do something in the same way you can train a cat, because you need to understand how a snake's brain and senses make it perceive the world. More recent studies, reflecting on this idea, have shown that, among other things, corn snakes are able to navigate mazes, monitor lizards engage in play behavior and can distinguish numbers up to six, crocodiles learn faster than lab rats with little conditioning, and leopard geckos have distinct personalities. Smart, indeed.
** Here's a scary fact: reptiles have smaller brains than mammals yet are just as intelligent. Therefore, if a reptile and mammal had the same brain size, the reptile would be much smarter.
** [[http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/tetrapod-zoology/2012/09/17/amazing-social-life-of-green-iguana/ Green Iguana]] babies are very social with their hatchmates, forming pods to travel together which have leaders who seem to look out for the rest. When hawks show up, the smaller females freeze in cover or flee; the larger males run in front of the hawks or [[BigBrotherInstinct cover their sisters' bodies with their own]].
* [[ThreateningShark Sharks]]. Once thought of as mindless killing machines, they are now known to possess an intelligence close to that of the seals that they feed upon. Sharks will engage in play behavior and can eventually grow to recognize the humans who feed them.
* [[SapientCetaceans Dolphins]]. A 2009 assessment of their cognitive ability has classified them as ''[[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman non-human people]]''. Different pods of dolphins have their own ''dialects'' of echolocation communication, which serves as a limited language. Each pod has its own hunting strategies, which it passes down generation to generation by teaching their young how to do it. In particular, one famous pod of orcas near South America has learned how to catch sea lions by beaching themselves on the surf, while another has learned to use sponges as nose-guards while digging in abrasive sand. A study showed that dolphins have specific patterns of echolocation that are used to refer to individuals - in other words, they use ''names'' for each other.
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elephant_cognition Elephants]] are among the most solidly established candidates for Earth's runner-up most intelligent species. They have developed their own morality, and perform acts of altruism. There's a story about an elephant matriarch who charged a camel herder, broke his leg... and then carried him into the shade and stood guard over him. They can also use tools with their trunk, which acts as a hand. They are also one of only a few species that have demonstrated the ability to recognize their own reflection in a mirror, something most housecats fail to comprehend.
** They can also [[RoaringRampageOfRevenge seek revenge]]. In one recorded instance, after a group of humans killed its mate, an elephant killed the cattle on the humans' farm, because it knew that the humans ''liked'' the cattle. A less intelligent animal would just kill the humans. But this elephant decided to kill something that was ''close'' to the humans in the same way that they killed something that was ''close'' to it. CruelMercy at its finest.
** Many animals mourn dead friends and family members, but elephants have ''rituals'' around death. They bury their dead, in a way - and they sometimes bury dead ''humans'' in the same way. When encountering the bones of their own kind, elephants have frequently been observed to become reverently quiet, in some cases delicately handling the remains. If you wanted to feel even ''worse'' about poachers and the ivory trade, when many members of a herd are killed, the survivors are traumatized, and without elders around to model behavior and teach them to cope, young ones grow up violent.
* Scientists have known for a long time that monkeys possess the ability to understand fairly complex games and the idea of a fair trade, but they've recently discovered that not only do some species of monkeys recognize when they're being cheated, they are not in the least bit happy about it. In [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KSryJXDpZo this video]], two monkeys are given disparate rewards for the same task. The monkey getting cucumber is perfectly happy with it until he realizes the second monkey is getting ''[[SeriousBusiness grapes]]''.
* A study involving monkeys showed that males were willing to trade in fruit juice (both a currency and a much-loved treat) for photographs of a female's backside. This shows 1) that they understand the concept of prioritization, and 2) that they recognize flat projections for what they represent. Among other things, obviously.
* Raccoons are very intelligent, and have humanlike hands they can pick things up with. It should be noted that raccoons are derived from a common ancestor of bears, cats and dogs, and possess attributes of all of them. They have been known to unlock doors, open jars, and steal things the find interesting. Groups of raccoons will often scheme together to get food. If a human decides to feed a raccoon he will often come back to the place it happened at the same time the following day, and may well bring some of his friends with him. [[note]]These groups can get very large depending on how many friends the raccoon has told about the food source.[[/note]] If the person who gave them food has done so for a while and happens not to be home one day, it's not uncommon for raccoons to try to break in, and help themselves. Raccoons can be domesticated to an extent; they can be trained to clap and fetch things, unlock doors, and open jars. When kept as pets alongside other animals, they clearly enjoy teasing dogs and cats.
* Parrots are highly intelligent- flocks of parrots in the wild develop rudimentary languages that vary between flocks, and many domestic parrots learn to ask for their favorite foods. While not quite [[PollyWantsAMicrophone smart enough to carry on a full conversation]], Polly may indeed ask for a cracker, not to mention cuss at you with a general understanding of the concept if you don't have any. A certain African Grey parrot, Alex, was trained by Dr. Irene Pepperberg at Brandeis University to count up to six, correctly identify the type, color, material and shape of objects, and was showing a basic grasp of abstract concepts like what was "same" or "different" about two shapes by the time he died. He could even suss out trick questions (asking "What's different?" about two identical shapes got a response of "None"). According to Irene Pepperberg's research, some parrots and other psittaciform birds can be taught to speak simple English intelligibly instead of mindlessly repeating words.
** Highlights of the parrot world include the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kea kea]], a mountain-dwelling parrot from New Zealand. Flocks have been known to happily take apart the cars of inattentive skiers, and [[http://www.animalliberationfront.com/Philosophy/Morality/Speciesism/2ParrotWarningStories.htm a parrot]] who saved the life of a baby by screaming, flapping his wings, and saying "mama baby" over and over until the babysitter realized the baby was choking.
** Alex the grey parrot was a bit of a spectacle in his life due to how well he learned not only language, but concepts. He's also the only animal ever recorded to ask an existential question: while learning about colors, he asked what color he was. It's how he learned the color grey.
* [[CleverCrows Corvids, especially ravens]] are also ''incredibly'' intelligent, to the point of rivaling elephants and dolphins for the title of 2nd most intelligent animal on Earth. Experiments that they are highly social creatures with a rudimentary, ''translatable'', language[[note]]with "words" for different situations, nouns, and adjectives- "dog", "big scary dog", "several dogs", "dog stealing my stash"[[/note]] capable of formulating long term plans, MacGyvering novel tools to solve unfamiliar problems, and planing and executing complex {{Batman Gambit}}s based on their observations of other animals- including humans and their [[XanatosSpeedChess fellow ravens]]. They can also reason about [[IKnowYouKnowIKnow what humans and other ravens are aware of]]- for instance, being ProperlyParanoid while doing the raven equivalent of looking up and whistling around a raven who saw them hiding a stash, then [[KansasCityShuffle feigning protectiveness]] about a [[NothingToSeeHere random pile of leaves]].
** Crows in Japan and California have been seen using passing cars to crack walnuts; seagulls have been witnessed doing the same, but with clams and the like. They even go to traffic crossings and only deposit and retrieve the nuts when it's safe.
** Thanks to the massive influx of vending machines Japan has built, crows have actually figured out by watching us that if you put spare change in (though they haven't figured out how much) and press a button, food will come out. That's right, crows in Japan ''know how to use a vending machine.''
** Among other things, adult ravens have been shown to be able to solve simple physics problems (they'd be great at ''VideoGame/HalfLife2)''. In a CrowningMomentOfFunny, some appear to not like pulleys, however: apparently pulling something ''down'' to make something else come ''up'' is both InsaneTrollLogic and [[ClarkesThirdLaw vile human sorcery]].
** They can also learn from each other. In one experiment, two ravens were given a hole with some food and a piece of wire each; one got a wire that had been bent into a hook, while the other got a useless straight wire. The one with the hook quickly figured out that he could use the wire to fish the food out of the hole, but the other one topped him when noticed that ''his'' hook was not a hook at all, and bent his wire into an identical tool before going after the food.
** They're also pretty good at planning ahead. Studies show that when food is tied to a perch, other, less bright birds will try to fly away with it, while corvids will drop the food because they know they can come back later.
** Ravens recruit other ravens to help them when they have found a good food source. When the discoverer returns to the roost (one in Newborough, Anglesey is one of the largest in Europe, 6000 birds at least.) in the evening, it will take part in displays and stunts with other birds (Ravens love to play and show off their aerobatic skills). He will have the energy to be more elaborate and longer-lasting than other birds, who will see this, recognize that he has fed well, and roost in the same tree as him, following him in the morning when he returns to the food. This way, he has a big mob of allies to protect the food source from competitors until they have picked it clean. Other species of ravens and corvids that form smaller, more tight-knit flocks will communicate via calls when they find something of interest or are in need of backup.
* Predators in general. A need to outsmart their prey means that no matter what type of animal they are, they are all intelligent, often frighteningly so. It is no coincidence that most of the animals on this page are predators or descended from predators. The most terrifying example is the fact marine predators (fish and cetaceans especially) can often communicate ''across different species'' in order to join forces in a coordinated assault on prey.
* Monkeys are capable of ''lying''. One of the monkey enclosures at Edinburgh Zoo is set up to allow a great deal of study into the monkeys' social behaviour to be carried out, and the keepers have noted not just that the monkeys have different calls for different foodstuffs, but that the first monkey outside, on seeing that a particular favourite has been provided, will sometimes give the call for a less popular meal in order to try and keep it for itself. In the wild, monkeys have also been filmed making the call for a specific predator - say, a snake - when there's no snake in sight, to distract the rest of the troop long enough for the monkey to either hide some prized food or quickly eat it.
* Many people apologize to their dogs. Subverted by the fact that the reason they assume that dogs understand English is because their dog "smiles" when the owner says "I love you".
well.
19th Dec '16 1:09:39 AM BoukenDutch
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* ''WesternAnimation/BuBumLaStradaVersoCasa'': all five animals accompanying Bu-Bum (a cat, a dog, a horse, a rooster and a bee) are clearly more intelligent than their real life counterparts, being able to understand what humans say and willingly helping Bu-Bum to find his parents, as well as protecting him form harm, since they know he won't make it on his own.

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* ''WesternAnimation/BuBumLaStradaVersoCasa'': ''WesternAnimation/BooBoomTheLongWayHome'': all five animals accompanying Bu-Bum Boo-Boom (a cat, a dog, a horse, a rooster and a bee) are clearly more intelligent than their real life counterparts, being able to understand what humans say and willingly helping Bu-Bum Boo-Boom to find his parents, as well as protecting him form harm, since they know he won't make it on his own.
15th Dec '16 3:24:16 PM dotheroar
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* In ''Film/{{Baxter}}'', the eponymous bull terrier narrates the film and has a more complete understanding of his situation than something with dog-like intelligence. Although he's only able to do things that a normal dog would do, he knows that, for example, tripping his current master so that she falls down some stairs will lead to him becoming someone else's dog.
15th Dec '16 3:21:14 PM dotheroar
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* ''Film/TheMask'': Stanely Ipkiss's dog, Milo, understands what a prison is.{{Lampshade|Hanging}}d by police detective and {{Hero Antagonist}} Lt. Mitch Kellaway when Stanley leaves him cuffed in the car with Milo for his safety, before the Jack Russel Terrier opens the car door with his teeth and joins the fray. Mitch: "Smart dog".
** Contrary to what one would think, a dog would not understand a command to get a pair of keys.



** Isis from ''The White Wolf of Icicle Creek''
** Uri from ''Secret of The Old Clock''
** Mickey Malone's dogs from ''Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake''
** Bob from ''The Secret of Shadow Ranch''



* Animals in general vary on ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons,'' to super-intelligent talking monkeys and dolphins ("Pray for Mojo") to human (or Homer) level intelligent to even dumber than real animals.
** Santa's Little Helper's intelligence varies from episode to episode. In some, he's completely stupid, in others he's smart enough to do EvenTheDogIsAshamed gags and understand why being married to a cat is a bad idea. In the Elephant episode, he even managed to ''speak'' (before falling over).
** Bart also ordered a perfect dog from a catalogue who was extremely intelligent.
** The pony Homer gets Lisa in "Lisa's Pony".
** Mr. Pinchy, the lobster Homer gets in "Lisa Gets an A".
** The sheep at the petting zoo in "Lisa the Vegetarian".
** Blinky in "Homer's Odyssey".

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* Animals Most of the animals in general vary on ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons,'' to super-intelligent talking monkeys and dolphins ("Pray for Mojo") to human (or Homer) level intelligent to even dumber than real animals.
** Santa's Little Helper's intelligence varies from episode to episode. In some, he's
''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' are completely stupid, in others he's smart enough to do EvenTheDogIsAshamed gags and understand why being married to a cat is a bad idea. In normal, except for Laddie the Elephant episode, he even managed to ''speak'' (before falling over).
** Bart also ordered a perfect dog
dog, the turtle from a catalogue who was extremely intelligent.
** The pony Homer gets Lisa in "Lisa's Pony".
** Mr. Pinchy, the lobster Homer gets in "Lisa Gets an A".
** The sheep at the petting zoo in "Lisa the Vegetarian".
** Blinky in "Homer's Odyssey".
Terrapin Wax, and Itchy & Scratchy.
15th Dec '16 4:12:06 AM BoukenDutch
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Added DiffLines:

* ''WesternAnimation/BuBumLaStradaVersoCasa'': all five animals accompanying Bu-Bum (a cat, a dog, a horse, a rooster and a bee) are clearly more intelligent than their real life counterparts, being able to understand what humans say and willingly helping Bu-Bum to find his parents, as well as protecting him form harm, since they know he won't make it on his own.
7th Nov '16 8:43:43 PM dotheroar
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** Abu and Rajah from ''{{Disney/Aladdin}}''. Jasmine was also able to pet a goldfish. Iago the parrot is TruthInTelevision, as [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSXSOEiv3N0 there are some parrots in real life who act like humans]]!

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** Abu and Rajah from ''{{Disney/Aladdin}}''. Jasmine was also able to pet a goldfish. Unlike most fictional parrots, Iago the parrot is TruthInTelevision, as [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSXSOEiv3N0 there are some parrots talks in real life who act like humans]]!first person.
30th Oct '16 2:26:10 PM nombretomado
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* Creator/MercedesLackey usually uses magic as an excuse for her intelligent animals. However, in the case of [[HeraldsOfValdemar Shin'a'in]] warhorses, this is natural breeding, making them strong, smart, and mean.

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* Creator/MercedesLackey usually uses magic as an excuse for her intelligent animals. However, in the case of [[HeraldsOfValdemar [[Literature/HeraldsOfValdemar Shin'a'in]] warhorses, this is natural breeding, making them strong, smart, and mean.
12th Oct '16 8:25:27 PM erforce
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* ''Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbean''

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* ''Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbean''''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean''
9th Oct '16 12:25:14 AM dotheroar
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Ordinary animals in fiction have a [[ArtisticLicenseBiology significantly increased intelligence]]. Not necessarily the {{Talking Animal}}s. Not the {{Funny Animal}}s. Just the wild and domestic animals encountered in stories where humans are the main characters. Such animals can frequently clearly understand everything humans say, understand human emotions, read, figure out how to solve problems on their own, and so forth. This is also true for cases in which the animals can [[AnimalTalk talk to each other]] [so the audience can hear them] but are common animals in the eyes of any humans in the film.

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Ordinary animals in fiction have a [[ArtisticLicenseBiology significantly increased intelligence]]. Not necessarily the {{Talking Animal}}s.Animal}}s, unless. Not the {{Funny Animal}}s. Just the wild and domestic animals encountered in stories where humans are the main characters. Such animals can frequently clearly understand everything humans say, understand human emotions, read, figure out how to solve problems on their own, and so forth. This is also true for cases in which the animals can [[AnimalTalk talk to each other]] [so the audience can hear them] but are common animals in the eyes of any humans in the film.



** The titular character of ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDoo'' talks at human level, albeit in ThirdPersonPerson, and like Quacker, in an animal-like voice.



* The titular character of ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDoo'' talks at human level, albeit in ThirdPersonPerson, and like Quacker, in an animal-like voice.
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