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List of the Smartest Mammals

According to the National Museum of Natural History, the brains of mammals are larger and more complex than other categories of animals.

The many folds of mammal’s brains are supportive of complex nerve networks. Mammals also have a neocortex, which allows for a higher level of information processing.


Smartest Mammals



A list published by MSNBC reveals that the smartest mammal is the human. Humans have the ability to solve problems, learn from past mistakes, reason and think abstractly.

They possess empathy toward others and are able to experience a wide array emotions. Humans can also think creativity, create tools, and communicate through complex language.



A study by Emory University has discovered that dolphins are the second smartest animals. MRI scans performed on dolphin brains showed that dolphins possess self-awareness and complex emotions, qualities that were previously believed to be exclusive to humans.

The studies also revealed that, like humans, dolphins are able to think abstractly and communicate through language.



Primates, including chimpanzees and orangutans, possess qualities that are very similar to humans. They are able to use tools to help them perform tasks, problem solve and communicate. Chimpanzees have shown the ability to communicate with humans through the use of sign language and remember a human whom they have not seen in a long time. Primates are also able to develop emotional bonds with others.



Elephants are widely known for their good memory, but they also possess other qualities that rank them as one of the smartest mammals. They are able to use tools to help them in the wild, clean their food prior to consumption and can learn to follow human commands.

Elephants also show a strong sense of empathy, not only toward one another, but also toward other species.



Pigs, both domesticated and wild, rank in as the fifth smartest mammal. They are able to adapt well in a variety of ecological condition and have been shown to be highly clever. Pigs can also follow the commands of humans. For this, they have become increasingly popular as pets in the United States.


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