Clem said:Hey Taningia,
Have you got the full list of "Most Intelligent" animals?
Also: are squirrels really on the list?
Yep, on the Travel Channel show, squirrels -- that is, a particular breed of squirrel which I don't recall -- were #10, and Octos/Squid were #9 (given Steve-O's opinion of Squid intelligence, I suspect Octos and Cuttles would be more accurate). I also recall that dolphins were #2 and of course great apes were #1. The other six -- though I don't remember their exact order -- were crows, parrots, dogs, pigs, monkeys, and elephants. I do remember that pigs beat out dogs, which I've heard from several sources.
I've noticed that whenever someone compiles a list of "world's most intelligent non-human animals", they're all either mammals or birds, the only inverts being Cephs (usually Octos) and -- occasionally -- honeybees. I don't know if I'd agree with that last one.... not to negate the remarkable collective intelligence of honeybees, but the operative word there is collective: Each hive functions as a formidably efficient unified entity, and the individual bees are analogous to the cells of a body, each with its own specialized function. So perhaps including the vast honeybee community among non-collective intelligences is unfair to the other, individually-functioning animals.
Another thing I've noticed is the conspicuous absence of reptiles, amphibians, and fish from every "most intelligent animal" list I've ever seen. One wonders if there are, indeed, any intelligent species in those (families? phyla? classes? I'm not sure of the scientific classification). I've seen snakes do some awesome stuff on various nature shows. Croc Hunter had more than one encounter with spitting cobras, who always managed to aim at his eyes -- sometimes from several feet away -- with deadly accuracy. (Fortunately Irwin would put on shades before approaching the critters, but he still had to wash off the venom before it had the chance to damage his skin.) Such an attack would require the cobra to identify the location of eyes on a completely different species -- not an easy feat considering how different mammals are from reptiles.
As for fish, sharks and rays regularly visit "cleaning stations" where certain species of small fish remove parasites from their skin. How do the sharks and rays know that this "service" will be offered by the cleaner fish? Perhaps it is instinctive, but it still shows an active participation by the shark or ray in its own wellbeing.
Regarding amphibians -- well, most of them are kinda cute or at least interesting, but I can't think of any particularly intelligent things they do. Still, who knows?
NAKED MOLE RATS RULE!