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Whale intelligence continues to amaze and dumbfound scientists

New studies show that humans are not the only intelligent organisms living on Earth, but as Ashley Coates says, we are still a long way from fully understanding how smart whales and dolphins really are

Monday 03 June 2019 16:06 BST
An orca chases herrings in the Reisafjorden fjord region in Norway
An orca chases herrings in the Reisafjorden fjord region in Norway (AFP/Getty)

The divers and scientists lucky enough to spend time among the world’s whales often find themselves wondering what is going on in the oversized brains of the sea’s largest inhabitants.

We know they have the biggest brains in the animal kingdom, with a sperm whale’s weighing more than five times that of an average human brain. A bottlenose dolphin’s encephalization quotient, a measure of brain to body size ratio, is second only to that of a human.

Their intelligence is part of the reason they have proven to be such successful animals. The blue whale is the largest creature ever known to have lived, weighing as much as 140 tons. The much smaller killer whale is the blue whale’s only natural threat in the sea and is an apex predator in all the world’s oceans.

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