Native Village
Youth and Education news
 December 1, 2010, Volume 3

7 Animals Smarter Than Humans
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Condensed by Native Village

Well, maybe they aren't really smarter, but these seven animals have skills humans only dream of  -- another reason to pay some respect when we encounter them in the wild.

1. Homing Pigeons

Most humans need maps and a compass to return home after a long journey. The homing pigeon can return from more than 1,100 miles) without any guidance.

Homing pigeons have iron-containing structures in their beak. The iron helps them sense Earth’s magnetic field and identify their geographical position. Research indicates this magnetic charm is present in other birds as well.

2. Ants

The world’s many varieties of ants have amazing skills.  The Amazon's mycocepurus smithii ant is a feminist species that can reproduce via cloning. They are an all-female breed.

By reproducing this way, the ants avoid the energy needed to reproduce males. This doubles the rate of female births. 

Unlike us humans, ants have also learned super efficient ways to organize their traffic.

The trap-jaw ant can close its mandibles at  0.13 milliseconds. That's 2,300 times faster than the blink of an eye. This allows them to jump enormous heights for their size.

Check out the video:


3. Elephants

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.

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.


4. Termites

In Zimbabwe, the termite species Macrotermes michaelseni farm the fungus they eat inside their mounds. While outdoor temperatures range from 104°F to 35°F, the fungus will only grow at 87°F. The termites constantly open and close heating and cooling vents in their mound to maintain a constant 87°F.

This method is so useful that it's been used in human buildings. The Eastgate Centre in Harare, Zimbabwe is modeled after the termites’ technique.


5. Chimps

Some people claim chimps are geniuses. Other's say they are only as smart as a 3-year-old.  But one area in which chimps are smarter than humans is photographic memory.

Young chimpanzees have an extraordinary memory. Small chimps can recall number sequences better than grown adults. Not too shabby!



6. Crows

Despite the numbers of shrinking animal populations, crows are thriving everywhere in the world except the Arctic and the Southern tip of South America.

Their amazing ability to adapt quickly live in cities show they could be a lot more of them in the future than us.



7. Dolphins

After humans, dolphins are the world's most intelligent creatures. One zoologist said  “neuroanatomy suggests psychological continuity between humans and dolphins,” and said we should reconsider human-dolphin interactions. Another scientist calls them "non-human persons."

Dolphins have communication skills similar to humans’. They are cultural animals with distinct personalities. They can think about the future, among other things.

How long will these clever animals put up with human abuse? We hope not too long.


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