It’s common knowledge that humans are the smartest animals in the world, right? But what would happen if the animal kingdom fulfilled the Orwellian prophecy and we were eventually ruled by animals? Which animals do you think would put us to shame?
Here are a few potential candidates:
The Rubik’s Cube Solving Octopus
OK, so maybe it can’t really complete the Rubik’s Cube, but we will find out soon. A number of octopuses have been given toys as part of a new study into the sea mollusc’s handiness, or arminess, rather.
Scientists at Sea Life centres across the UK and Europe are giving them toys and food to determine whether they investigate and eat with a specific tentacle, if they favour one arm just like humans are left or right-handed.
Hans the Maths Horse
In the late 1800s a German high school mathematics instructor named Wilhelm Von Osten had the idea that intelligence, character and personality were based on the shape of a person’s head. So, to test his wacky theory he decided to teach a cat, a bear and a horse, maths.
Hans, an Arab stallion, showed real promise in the classroom and with some extra tuition, when Osten would write a number on the blackboard Hans was able to tap out the correct number with his hoof. He could count all the way up to ten, which by today’s maths standards really is something.
Unfortunately, Osten’s theory was eventually discredited when they discovered Hans the horse was just reacting to his master tapping on the board.
N’kisi, The Parrot with a 950-word Vocabulary
Eight-year-old African grey parrot, N’kisi hit the news headlines a few years ago for being able to use words in context and verbs with past, present and future tenses. N’kisi is also able to use other words to phrase a sentence when he can’t quite think of the right one – he will say things like ‘pretty smell medicine’ to describe aromatherapy oils used by his owner and is also reported to have a great sense of humour.
Apparently, when another parrot hung upside down from its perch, N’kisi joked, “You gotta put this bird on camera.” And, on meeting revered primatologist Dr Jane Goodall after seeing her pictured with apes, he greeted her with, “Got a chimp?”
That’s, as they Yogi used to say, smarter than the average bear.
Fish that Can Follow Directions
Check out this cool video. Four fish are directed around a tank with nothing more than hand signals from their owner. Quite uncanny; and goes to prove that goldfish aren’t as stupid as they let on to be.
On the other hand, it could be further evidence to prove that the sly goldfish doesn’t have four second memory after all; they probably started the rumour themselves just to get out of being roped into doing stunts like this.
Ed, the Talking Horse
Made famous by 1960s sitcom, Mister Ed, this clever talking horse is probably the most famous of all the talking animals. The idea for the show was taken from a short story by Walter R Brooks, Ed Takes the Pledge. The US sitcom ran for an astounding seven years, so is the love of ours for talking animals.
We’ll even throw in a free album.