Animals Are Way Smarter Than We Think
By Sergei VanBellinghen
Since childhood, I firmly believe that animals are way smarter than we think. And that we human beings, as a species, are just being too arrogant. Scientific evidence proves that our planet is not the epicentre of the solar system, but today it also shows that we are not the only center of intelligence.
But what are considered levels of intelligence? How and who defines them? Do you think that some animals are way smarter than some people?
Throughout my experiences, I do believe so. Just because animals cannot speak or read, for instance, does not automatically indicate that they cannot think or feel. When comparing one species of animals to another, or even to humans, we can see different degrees of intelligence.
So, we are deceiving ourselves into thinking that, for thousands of years we are more intelligent than the rest of the animal kingdom. And that, despite growing evidence these days to the opposite. Of course, I do not deny that we, human animals, are smart when it comes to doing what needs to be done to survive. But other species may be way smarter than we are, believe or think.
Intelligence is Relative
Numerous animals have exceptional brains, but most people purely misunderstand many of their abilities. There are now facts that crows, dogs, octopuses or koalas, just to name a few, reveal superior intelligence. It is widespread truth in the animal kingdom. In some cases, animals possess greater reasoning faculties than any human being. So, some of them are probably way smarter.
And some of their actions or behaviours cannot merely be considered instinct. When we look at various animals, we often cannot do what they do. Sometimes, the way they act or the things they do are very complicated, like a bat flying in the dark. These creatures can capture flying insects in midair directly with echolocation.
So, it does not only takes instinct but a lot of brainpower to realize such a feat. Yet we do not pay attention to these kinds of things because we think it is irrelevant. Most people do not evaluate the skills of animals, but rather compare them to ours in terms of intelligence. As long as they cannot reason, speak, or read, then they must not be as bright as we are.
Outlining Who is Way Smarter
Through the ages, the ruling classes, from religion to scholars, do repeat that same belief: “We, humans are incomparable because we are the cleverest being in the animal kingdom.” They also pretend that animals have no souls or feelings. However, science and life show us that animals do have feelings, a soul, and reasoning faculties which makes them way smarter than we think.
So, this belief of thinking that we are superior in intelligence goes back some ten thousand years ago. It started when man created agriculture, farms, and the domestication of animals. It then gained momentum with the beliefs of religion, which regarded humans as the principal species in creation.
But does it mean that our intelligence is at a higher level? Of course not; they are just of different types. When a foreigner tries to talk to you using an imperfect, flawed or broken version of your language, your first impression is that they are not very smart. But the truth is entirely different.
The Unconditional Love of Animals
When it comes to animals, they are way smarter than what we tend to give them credit for. They are just smart on their own terms, which often look nothing like yours or mine. I believe we can learn a lot of things from them such as love, empathy, and compassion. So when they care, you can witness that they genuinely do; it is not just a fake disguise like human beings do.
Of the animal kingdom, some of these beings love humans unconditionally. However, a lot of people still abuse and mistreat such affection. When something happens to us, animals do not put us down, push us aside or suddenly decide not to love us anymore. That attitude only shows that they are way smarter than we are.
No matter the circumstances, they are there at our side until the end, and too often, we take this for granted. Yet, some people have no problem getting rid of an animal when it does not fit their life or agenda anymore. And we are supposed to be the most intelligent species on this planet; think again!
The Intelligence of Animals
Every day, our pets communicate with us through their demands and make us do things they desire. The animal world is much more complicated than we seem to believe or think. My father is a racehorse trainer, so I grew up around horses and lived for many years in an apartment over a racehorse stable. Cats and dogs were also an integral part of my life like with any standard equine barn.
In the 60s, there were no smartphones or sophisticated cameras to make videos in seconds. But all of my life, I witnessed behaviours, intelligence and memory tricks from animals. The following story is a perfect example of it.
One day, my father bought a racehorse named “Murdoch” from another city, twenty miles away. After a few days, he took the horse to the track to train him. While galloping, a tractor made an enormous noise which scared the animal, and its rider fell off. The horse, then alone, dashed across the track and jumped over the barrier disappearing into the woods.
A Story of Being Way Smarter
It was time to get in the car. I rode along, at my father’s side, to look for the horse. We searched everywhere but to no avail. A few hours later, on our return to the barn, the former owner called. In amazement, she told my dad that the animal was at her ranch.
So, it meant that the horse galloped over roads and through woods to get back to his previous barn without a single scratch. Somehow, he figured out how to do twenty miles of unknown territory and return where he came from. Not only the horse did this, but because of cameras around the ranch, we were able to see how he did enter the horse farm.
When arriving at the front entrance, the animal saw that it was closed. So it went around the back, pushed the small gate and climbed the steps standing in its way. Then found an open stall, entered it and waited there, knowing that it was the only home he knew.
Animals Are Way Smarter
Animals are amazing and deserve as much respect as people for their memory, intelligence, tenacity and unconditional love.
- Horses, dogs, and cats, among many species that spend time around people, can recognize body language signs that you or I do not pay attention to.
- Primates such as chimpanzees can easily beat people at remembering a series of numbers that they saw for a fraction of a second.
- Octopuses learn to open childproof caps on medication bottles, which many of us cannot unlock.
- Bats do map out space with echolocation and sonar.
- Birds figure out and understand the complex mechanics of flying and landing.
- Crows, pictured in horror movies for stupid reasons, are not just among the most intelligent birds, but they are way smarter than most creatures. They can accomplish tasks that three and four-year-old children have trouble doing.
Animals Have Feelings
While they have different brain structures, experts estimate that animals such as crows and apes handle and use a combination of mental tools. It even includes imagination and the expectation of potential future events so that they can solve problems.
Again, I witnessed some crows learning how to use cars for cracking nuts. They wait patiently at intersections while keeping watch on the traffic lights. So, when the traffic stops they retrieve a nut that vehicles crushed, which they have put earlier on the road.
Furthermore, it is now evident that elephants grieve. Most mammals feel joy, love, and sadness or suffering. Once, in Ukraine, my mother-in-law took home a stray cat that was living on a hospital ground. It was not a small kitten but a full-grown cat. The cat was now living in her countryside house fifteen miles away from the hospital, and he looked unhappy.
Give Animals Credit
One day, she opened the door, and the cat flew by her, running away into the fields. Ten days later, thinking that she lost the animal forever, it showed up on the hospital ground. The animal had lost a lot of weight and seemed to suffer a minor injury, but he was alive. He had found his way home through fields and against unbelievable obstacles.
So, human beings have to stop this obsession with comparing animals to human aptitude. We pick things that we are good at, like technology or language. And we then associate it with the intelligence of other species of our world. But animals are way smarter than we think. So, let’s think twice before making any assumptions and give them the credit they deserve.