Home Nature & Science Ranking the World’s Smartest Animals: Top 7 Highest IQ Animals

Ranking the World’s Smartest Animals: Top 7 Highest IQ Animals


Animals have been known to display some impressive intellectual as judged from a human perspective. Some amongst the animal kingdom that have expressed high intelligence levels that can be observed as they go about their daily natural routines. You probably don’t need to worry about an animal uprising anytime soon, but they certainly can surprise with their human-like abilities.

Here are the top 7 smartest animals in the world:

1. The Orangutan

Even though chimpanzees are considered to be our closest non-human relatives and therefore ought to at least be the smartest animals by association, the Orangutan have edged their primate counterparts by a small margin. Their ability to not only learn new adoptive ways on how to survive in the wild optimally but as well to understand why it is necessary to learn has earned them the status of among the smartest primate and non-human animal in the world.

To highlight the intellectual capabilities of the orangutan, a study was carried out where an orangutan in captivity was taught on how to construct a structure that would protect it from the elements in the event of for example a rainy day. The orangutan successfully constructed the structure and upon release was able to apply the same knowledge in the wild when the rains came.

2. The Bottlenose Dolphin


There are probably not very many non-human animals that can match the intellectual capabilities attributed to the bottlenose dolphin. Their profound ability to process, analyze and instinctively react to different situations with retrospective reference to what they have experienced before, is truly remarkable. The bottlenose dolphin has superior language comprehension skills and numerical understanding, allowing them to optimally understand their environment as well as how to relate to other beings around them.

The bottlenose dolphin is as well known for their problem-solving prowess as displayed by considerate traits like thoughtfully swimming with a sea sponge attached to its snout as a precautionary measure against hazardous and prickly objects.

3. The Chimpanzee

Third on our list is man’s closest non-human relative, the chimpanzee. Considering the fact that scientists found that we share an astonishing over 98% of our DNA with chimpanzees, it is only natural that they have some level of intellectual capability as well as cognitive functioning. Chimpanzees have been observed to be able to utilize resources in their surroundings to facilitate their survival.

On their relationship with humans, Chimpanzees have been able to learn the use of sign language to express themselves and have displayed intelligence in attacking manoeuvres as well as defending themselves. Topped off with remarkable memory, the chimpanzee has deservedly earned a spot on the list of the world smartest animals.

4. Elephant

If there was an animal that would have the best the human intellectually, it would probably be this mammoth giant of an animal that has been a dominant force in the animal kingdom for aeons now. Their literally huge brain is capable of some pretty amazing things. Elephants have been known to display superior cognitive abilities while expressing emotional capabilities as is evident with the way they ferociously protect their young ones. 

Their abilities to form lasting friendships and bonds with not only each other but also with humans have been highlighted by the ritualistic ceremonies they have when one of their passes on. The combination of enhanced self-awareness, as well as profound intellectual ability, makes the elephant a remarkably smart animal.

5. The African Grey Parrot

The African Grey Parrot’s intelligence has been compared to that of a human’s five-year-old! Pretty amazing huh? Probably the most remarkable attribute of the African grey parrot would be its ability to not only use an impressive number of human phrases but as well understand and use them based on their contextual meaning.

A good testament of the African grey parrot’s intellectual abilities would be psychologist Irene Pepperberg’s experimental study of the incredible African grey parrot, Alex. For 30years, Alex successfully learned and comprehended over 150 words, understood their contextual meanings along with different shapes and sizes. By the time of his death, Alex could relate to questions asked and could even express guilt whenever he felt he had annoyed or offended the psychologist.

6. Pigs

Contrary to popular beliefs that pigs are filthy and don’t mind a lot about the hygienic standard of their environment, pigs are actually among the cleanest animals around. So much that if given a choice, pigs will have separate eating and defecating areas. A trait which most other animals don’t seem to be too concerned about. They are remarkably affectionate and conscious animals as evident from the fact that mother-pigs have been observed to sing to their nursing young ones to put them at ease with that essential maternal care lovingly.

Just like any dog, pigs can be trained and have the ability to retain quite a bit of useful information. As has been witnessed in several popular television shows, pigs can be successfully trained to complete predetermined tasks like running through a special course with strategically placed obstacles that would require some mental engagement to get by. pigs are also pretty sociable and have a pretty good memory. 

7. The Crow

In another world or another reality, smart crows would be what would probably sum up their the “perfect worst nightmare”, if there was ever such a thing. They might not be capable of world domination, but they are smart enough to survive and make an adoptive living for themselves. Like parrots, crows can be taught articulated verbal communication, tell complex shapes from basic ones and master observational learning skills.

Their adoptive techniques are evident from their reliance on vehicles to crack open nuts and other shelled foods they intentionally drop on those particular vehicles’ paths. Some people may consider these birds as worthy of featuring somewhere in the destructive species column, but crows are considered to be the smartest among the birds in the air.


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