• Question: Are there other intelligent creatures in the world? Is there proof?

    Asked by Claudiam to Ceri, Marikka, Matt, Rob on 19 Nov 2014.
    • Photo: Ceri Dare

      Ceri Dare answered on 19 Nov 2014:

      How do you define intelligence? Octopuses are very intelligent in some ways – they can solve puzzles and use tools, and they communicate by changing colours. However octopuses have a very different brain from us (actually they have nine brains, one at the top of each tentacle), and we haven’t worked out a way to talk to octopuses yet, so it is hard to know how intelligent they are.

      This is a video of an octopus doing many clever things: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8cf7tPoN5o

    • Photo: Marikka Beecroft

      Marikka Beecroft answered on 19 Nov 2014:

      There are plenty of creatures which exhibit intelligence. Chimps, Gorillas, octopuses, dolphins, whales and elephants are but a few. As Ceri says what would you define as intelligence? I define intelligence in creatures who show several things, culture, language, emotions and the ability to use tools and teamwork.

      All the animals I’ve listed above have shown this. Chimps and gorillas for example can be taught sign language and can talk to their keepers about what they want. In the wild they use tools to get food and keep dry as well as passing on information and techniques to younger generations (culture) through their own languge.

      Koko (a captive gorilla taught sign language) showed love towards a kitten which she adopted. A few years later it died and the keepers explained this to koko through sign and she signed back “sad,bad,sad” here’s the video!

      Animals can be very intelligent!

    • Photo: Robert Hampson

      Robert Hampson answered on 20 Nov 2014:

      There are plenty of other intelligent creatures on planet Earth.

      Elephants are known to grieve for relatives and have things that look somewhat like funeral rites. They also recognise themselves in a mirror and can learn how to unlock doors etc.

      Some creatures also possess insight based learning. A chimp was left in a cage with a stick. A banana was left just outside the cage within stick reach. The chimp used the stick to get the banana and ate it (that bit is not too remarkable). Then the chimp was given another stick and a banana was left just inside the equivalent of two sticks reach. The chimp tried to reach it and failed, so it then tried pushing one stick with the other but obviously couldn’t pull it the banana back. Eventually, the chimp gave up sat down and just started playing with the sticks. At some point during paying with the sticks, the chimp managed to screw them together. At this point, the chimps face lit up, it ran over to the edge of the cage ad used the now longer stick to reach and eat the banana. This shows that the chimp had already understood that it needed a longer stick. It understood the idea of length and some basic mechanincs. Then as soon as it had a longer stick available it realised it could solve the previous problem. Rather remarkable, huh!

      Koko the gorilla learnt sign language from human volunteers. Apparently, she even understand the idea of death, she was very sad when Robin Williams died (a person she met many years before) and when a cat who she helped to look after died. She has also been known to be somewhat cunning and lie to the human volunteers. However, you might not call it the most intelligent lie, a sink had been ripped from the wall and smashed up a bit and Koko tried to blame her pet kitten…