We’re not smarter – we just don’t speak the same language

If you spend enough time with a non-human animal, you start to suspect they’re more intelligent than social convention has lead you to believe. Now a group of scientists are saying the evidence is showing this intuition is fact.

“For millennia, all kinds of authorities – from religion to eminent scholars – have been repeating the same idea ad nauseam, that humans are exceptional by virtue and that they are the smartest in the animal kingdom,” said Dr. Arthur Saniotis, Visiting Research Fellow with the University's School of Medical Sciences in an interview with The Independent. "The belief of human cognitive superiority became entrenched in human philosophy and sciences. Even Aristotle, probably the most influential of all thinkers, argued that humans were superior to other animals due to our exclusive ability to reason.

“However, science tells us that animals can have cognitive faculties that are superior to human beings.”

Pointing to the complexity of olfactory senses belonging to numerous non-human animals as an example, another scientist argued that it’s not so much a matter of intelligence as it is a capability to communicate that intelligence.

"The fact that they may not understand us, while we do not understand them, does not mean our 'intelligences' are at different levels, they are just of different kinds. When a foreigner tries to communicate with us using an imperfect, broken, version of our language, our impression is that they are not very intelligent. But the reality is quite different," said Professor Maciej Henneberg, a professor of anthropological and comparative anatomy from the School of Medical Sciences.

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