What Does it Mean When We Say an Animal is Intelligent? How Is Human Intelligence Different from That of Animals?

An animal is said to be intelligent when it shows signs of being able to learn, teach, and communicate with others of its species. A Gorilla, for example is thought to be highly intelligent, because of its ability to learn new things and communicate with humans. They have been taught American Sign Language and have mastered a variety of basic human skills.

Animal intelligence is different from that of humans however. Humans have the ability to observe and appreciate their environment in a way that animals never can. Animals see everything as a means to an end. Animals observe their surrounding only as a way to get what is essential for their survival; water, food, shelter, etc. We, as humans have the capacity to not only observe our natural surroundings, but appreciate it as well. We are able to understand and see all the marvelous beauty that encompass us on a daily basis.

There are many things that animals are not able to do easily, that humans do as second nature. Humans are super curious, constantly asking questions and analyzing things in order to understand it. Most animals are not that way, they just accept the way things are without wondering “why”. A study was done on certain primates recently. They were taught American Sign Language and even shown how to ask questions. However, these creatures would never ask a question of their own accord. Interestingly enough, they would only ask a question if they were forced to, or there was no way that they could get out of doing it.

Animals are very intelligent, but they do not come close to the level of understanding and comprehension we as humans possess.



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