The next time someone calls you an ape or a bird brain, ask her to think again. Brain scans of animals have revealed similar patterns of electrical activity in human and animal brains, so obviously humans aren’t the only smart ones around.
The brainiest animals are chimpanzees, which share 99 per cent of the human deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA as it is known. (DNA is a chain of molecules within the nucleus of a cell that have all the genetic information influencing the characteristics we inherit from our parents.)
It has long been known that monkeys and chimps are very smart. For instance, if food is placed outside a monkeys cage on a piece of cloth, the monkey immediately understands that it must pull at the cloth to get the food.
Chimps are even more intelligent. Scientists have observed them sharpening rocks in order to crack open coconuts and shells. No wonder chimps have even been taught sign language to express themselves.
Chimps may be the brainiest of the lot, but talking birds are not far behind. And even among the kind that just warble, the birds with really intricate courtship songs have bigger brains than their note-poor rivals. It took experts (with state-of-the-art computers) almost three hours to distinguish a male bird singing 40 notes, from another bird singing 38 notes. Female birds on the other hand, can choose the better singer in minutes!
Parrots are a cut above the rest of their feathered pals. These birds can be taught how to name and identify objects, besides being taught how to count.
Many other species, including dolphins, whales, elephants and crows show intelligence, but not much is known about these animals. Unlike apes and talking birds, scientists haven’t studied other species quite as closely.
Again, it is a known fact that dogs are perceptive animals and aware of what is happening around them. But scientists now believe that your pet dog might actually be able to sense what you are going to do. For instance, have you ever noticed how your dog starts pawing the door the moment you wear your shoes?
Dogs have also been known to go into a state of frenzy just before their owner has an epileptic seizure. How and why a dog senses this subtle shift in its masters health is still a matter of debate. However, German scientists claim that apart from noticing what we are doing, dogs also sense small changes in our body chemistry.
But until further research is carried out, we cannot be perfectly sure just how a dogs mind works.