Can you name the smartest members of the animal kingdom?

By: Maria Trimarchi

Can you name the smartest members of the animal kingdom?
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Some argue it's the pig, while others say, no way. Let's see if you know just how smart our craftiest furry and feathered friends are by taking this quiz!
Which animal is now considered the second-most intelligent, just behind humans?
crow
dog
dolphin
After the results of a 2010 study, dolphins surpassed chimps in the human estimation about who's the smartest.
monkey

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Despite their bad reputation, which non-primates, that we know of, are capable of thinking about their thoughts (a concept known as metacognition)?
crows
Portia labiata (a species of jumping spider)
pigs
white rats
In a 2007 study, researchers found that lab rats have the ability to think about thinking, a higher-thinking skill known as metacognition.

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Which type of hornbill can understand the language of another species?
African hornbill
African hornbill understand the warning signals spoken by Diana monkeys.
helmeted hornbill
rhinoceros hornbill
Sulu hornbill

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Which bird, which can live for up to 70 years, is capable of learning a vocabulary of 2,000 or more human words?
African grey parrots
African grey parrots are known for being chatty. While most learn at least 100 words, some learn as many as 1,000 to 2,000.
blue-fronted Amazons
Indian ringneck parakeets
long-billed cockatoos

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Which type of lizard can count, at least to six?
collared lizard
gila monsters
iguanas
monitor lizards
Monitor lizards, such as the Komodo dragon, are able to count, at least to six.

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Chimps are generally considered to be closest in intelligence to a human of what age?
6 months old
1 year old
3 years old
Chimps are generally considered to be as intelligent as a 3-year-old human child.
5 years old

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Which marine mammal can recognize itself in a mirror?
whales
sealions
manatees
dolphins
Dolphins are able to check out their reflections.

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Which other animals are able to recognize themselves in a mirror?
bees
elephants
magpies
all of these animals can
Bees, elephants and magpies are all able to recognize themselves in a mirror.

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Which type of bear is able to recognize another animal it hasn't seen in 20 years?
sloth bear
grizzly bear
The grizzly bear can recognize individual animals it's met before, even 20 years later.
cinnamon bear
cave bear

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Which type of bear has the biggest and most complex brain of all the land mammals, relative to its size?
spirit bear
spectacled bear
grizzly bear
It's the grizzly bear that has the biggest and most complex brain -- relative to its size, of course -- of all land mammals.
blue bear

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Which animal has the biggest brain, period?
dolphin
elephant
human
sperm whale
Dolphin and human brains both weigh about 3 pounds. At 17 pounds, average, it's the sperm whale that has the biggest brain of all. (Elephant brains are close, though, at about 11 pounds, which makes them the largest-brained land animal.)

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Which bird, found in the American Southwest, fashions a bowl out of tree bark to use as a container for carrying honey?
gila woodpecker
The gila woodpecker is capable of making a container out of tree bark in which to carry honey home.
red-faced warbler
bronzed cowbird
rose-throated becard

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Which concepts can parrots understand?
bigger/smaller
different/same
nothing/zero
they appear to understand all of these
Evidence suggests parrots understand what same/different and bigger/smaller mean, as well as the concepts of "none" and zero.

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Which is not considered to be among the smartest dog breeds?
Afghan hound
According to the American Kennel Club, border collies, poodles and German shepherd dogs top the smartest dogs list.
border collie
German shepherd
poodle

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Which is not considered among the smartest cat breeds?
Bengal
Exotic Shorthair
Sorry, Exotic Shorthair cats and kittens, you rank near the bottom. Maybe you just don't do well on tests?
Siamese
Sphynx

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Who was the first to observe chimpanzees making and using tools?
Dian Fossey
BirutÄ— Galdikas
Jane Goodall
The first documentation of chimps making and using tools in the wild was in the 1960s in Tanzania, when primatologist Jane Goodall observed them fashioning a twig into a tool to catch ants.
Louis Leakey

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What mammal is known to fashion a sponge out of chewed leaves?
baboons
chimpanzees
Chimpanzees are known to make homemade sponges by chewing leaves to dip into water for a drink.
lemurs
marmosets

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Which member of the weasel family was thought to be the only tool-using marine mammal, until humans observed dolphins?
mink
sea otter
Sea otters were once considered the only tool-using marine mammal.
badger
wolverine

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Which cephalopod uses a coconut shell to protect itself from predators?
cuttlefish
nautilus
octopus
Cephalopods are smart, and one type of octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus) surprised scientists when they observed it making and using a coconut shell to hide inside of, as protection from predators.
squid

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Which primates are known to alter or play with their vocalization sounds using leaves held over their mouths?
bonobos
lemurs
orangutans
Orangutans have been seen whistling through a leaf to alter the sound of their vocalizations.
prosimians

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Which flying insect uses pounding tools?
dragonfly
mantidfly
mayfly
wasp
Wasps have been observed using pebbles, and even the limbs of other insects, as pounding tools.

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Which monkey has been recorded 'washing' sweet potatoes in salty sea water?
white-headed capuchin
Rhesus macaque
Japanese macaque
The Japanese macaque, also called the snow monkey, has been seen dipping sweet potatoes into seawater. It's not entirely clear whether this is to wash the potatoes or make them saltier, but the custom apparently started with one individual before spreading across the colony as a learned behavior.
grivet

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How do chickens organize numbers?
from smallest to largest
from left to right
both of these
Chickens, it turns out, have what's known as "number sense," and they order numbers from smallest to largest, beginning from left to right.
neither, chickens can't count

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Which bird is believed to reason as well as a 7-year-old human?
Great Horned owl
New Caledonian crows
Studies find that New Caledonian crows (family Corvidae) are able to reason about as well as a 7-year-old human.
Say's phoebe
Western bluebird

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Which primates have been taught to use sign language and symbols to communicate with humans?
bonobos
chimpanzees
gorillas
all of these primates
Bonobos, chimpanzees and gorillas have all been taught to communicate with humans through sign language and symbols.

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What insect is known as an "eight-legged cat" because of its cleverness and craftiness as a predator?
blue pink toe spider (A. versicolor)
Burmese mustard spider (C. andersoni)
common house spider (A. tepidariorum)
jumping spider (P. labiata)
Because of its clever and crafty predatory techniques (they prey on other spiders), the species of jumping spider known as Portia labiata is often referred to as an "eight-legged cat."

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Which bird -- known to stash food, maybe even in your own backyard -- also knows that stashed food can spoil?
American robins
jays
Scrub jays are smart enough to know that food they stash needs to be retrieved before it spoils.
purple finch
song swallows

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What was the name of the first animal found to be capable of following basic logical thinking: If A = B, and B = C, then A = C and C = A?
a mouse named Dudley
a sea lion named Rio
In the 1990s, a sea lion named Rio demonstrated an understanding of, if A=B and B=C, then A=C (and, then, C=A). No joke.
an African grey named Alex
an octopus named Nixon

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Which farm animal do researchers believe to be capable of worrying about the future?
chickens
cows
Cows feel pain, fear and are able to feel anxious.
geese
pygmy goats

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Which bird, that we know, can distinguish a video of himself versus a video of another bird?
emu
Kerguelen petrel
mockingbird
pigeon
Pigeons can. Surprised? Don't be. Not only can they recognize themselves, they can be taught to count to nine, sort pictures and identify human words.

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Which mammal is known to test water depth with a walking stick fashioned from a branch?
siamang
pig-tailed langur
gorilla
Wild gorillas have been observed testing water depth with a homemade walking stick.
Barbary macaque

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How long ago did French physician and philosopher Julien Offray de La Mettrie suggest we communicate with other great apes through sign language?
about 25 years ago
about 50 years ago
about 100 years ago
more than 250 years ago
It was more than 250 years ago, in 1747, when Julien Offray de La Mettrie made his suggestion of using sign language to communicate with other great apes such as gorillas.

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Except for humans, which animal spends the most time hunting with tools?
polar bear
dolphin
Dolphins spend the most time hunting with tools than any other animal, not counting humans.
Great white shark
Bengal tiger

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