You're not as smart as you think are. While writer Yuval Noah Harari wrote his best-selling book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind about the hubris and social bonds of humans, the animal kingdom is full of wondrous intelligence and social structures. "You could never convince a monkey to give you a banana by promising him limitless bananas after death in monkey heaven," Harari quips, but chimpanzees are capable of outperforming humans at certain memory tasks, and they demonstrate empathy, altruism, and self-awareness through their problem-solving skills. Many regard them as the smartest non-human species in existence, but plenty of other animals have fascinated scientists in their studies of the brain, even challenging conventional understanding of what "intelligence" is.

For instance, whales' emotional intelligence and empathy may result in mass strandings because of their close social bonds. A crow can remember the face of a human who hurt them for years, and they can even pass on the information to another crow as a warning to stay away from that human. What was the nicest thing you've done for your friends lately?



Rats are cool. Rats are fun. Rats are quirky. They're also highly intelligent. Why else do you think we imprison them in tiny cages and poke them in labs to test our drugs and cosmetics? Rats' brain structures and functions are "remarkably similar" to ours, studies find. Their problem-solving skills and ability to detect patterns and rules sometimes outperform humans.


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