Nature: All things bright and beautiful
Scientists are arguing that dolphins are so clever they should be treated like humans. But why stop there? Simon Usborne salutes the smartest species
An extraordinary council of marine mammals was clicking late into last night to consider the future of cetacean species after human scientists proposed a declaration of rights for some of the world's smartest animals...
...Well, if they're that clever, they would be, right? A group of biologists and philosophers said at a conference in Vancouver this week that dolphins and whales were so smart they deserved to be treated as "non-human persons". But why stop there? Nature is overrun with over-achievers who threaten the supremacy "human persons" earned mainly by killing things and inventing calculators. Let's take a moment to marvel at their staggering feats and brilliant brainpower.
They have good memories but have also been observed using tools and showing empathy, evidence of a higher form of intelligence.
These pestilent crumb munchers can identify themselves in mirrors and distinguish between objects.
Bird-brained but brilliant crows can place nuts in streets to be cracked under cars, retrieving the spoils after the traffic lights have changed.
Clever Hans wowed early 20th-century audiences with feats of arithmetic. A commission later found the German horse, while clever, was no genius.
Bottlenoses off Brazil drive fish towards fishermen and then swim away, nabbing lunch as they go.
Ayumu makes his scientist handlers look stupid. When shown numbers on a screen for half a second, the Japanese chimp can then trace their position in perfect sequence.
Sows in Essex have learned to "borrow" the electronic collars of other pigs to gain cheeky seconds from their computerised feeding system.
Uggie, The Artist star, is a master of tricks but can't out-smart Chaser, a collie from South Carolina, who has learnt the names of 1,000 objects.
They can navigate mazes and trip levers for food but scientists in Los Angeles showed in 2006 that rats can also distinguish cause from coincidence.
Paul, the octopus who predicted results during the 2010 World Cup, wasn't psychic but his kind can open jars or valves to their tanks (one flooded a Santa Monica aquarium).
- 1 Florida man sentenced to two-and-a-half years for having sex on the beach in front of a child
- 2 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 3 Nick Kyrgios calls former Olympian Dawn Fraser a 'blatant racist' after she tells Wimbledon star to 'go back where their parents came from'
- 4 World learns of app that shows you who unfriended you on Facebook, app promptly crashes
- 5 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
Greece debt crisis: Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande issue Athens with 24-hour ultimatum to avoid crashing out of the euro
Greece crisis: Referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its lack of genuine legitimacy
£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...
£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...
£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...
£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...