The Smartest Animals on the Planet

The Smartest Animals on the Planet

Extraordinary Tales of the World's Most Clever Creatures

Book - 2009
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Baker & Taylor
Looks at animal intelligence from seven broad categories of cognition, including tool making and use, numerical ability, language learning, and learned social behaviors.

Firefly Books Ltd

How animals communicate and learn -- sometimes better than humans do, actually.

This fascinating book, written by a world authority on animal intelligence, brings together the cumulative research on the comparative intelligence levels of nonhuman "smart" species. Sally Boysen reveals how these intelligent animals communicate, learn behavior, show feelings and emotions and, for some species, how they use tools, count and sometimes pick up a foreign language.

Fully illustrated with photographs and step-by-step graphics, the book draws on data from historical and current experiments and observations to examine intelligence in the great apes (gorillas, chimpanzees and orangutans) and in a surprising list of other species, including sea otters, eagles, elephants, dolphins, birds, bees, beetles, rats, raccoons and parrots.

The book's chapters are:

  • Comparing Animal Skills and Intelligence
  • Animal Tool Use
  • Communication in Animals
  • Imitation and Social Learning
  • Social Cognition and Emotion
  • Self-recognition and Awareness
  • Numerical Abilities in Animals
  • Animals and Human Nonverbal Language.

The Smartest Animals on the Planet is a beautiful, authoritative and up-to-date presentation on the remarkable intelligence of the animal kingdom.

Book News
Following an introduction to scientists' debates over what constitutes intelligence in humans and animals from ants to whales, an expert on chimpanzee cognition (PhD, Ohio State U.) presents a comparative cognition approach to various animal species' use of tools, communication, social learning, mirror self- recognition, numerical abilities, and cooperation and altruism. Chapters on each species discussed include a map of its natural habitat, sometimes surprising study findings, unanswered questions, and color photographs. The book includes a glossary and contribution by another primate expert, but no references or further reading. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: Richmond Hill, Ont. : Firefly Books, 2009
ISBN: 9781554074563
Branch Call Number: 591.513 Boy
Characteristics: 192 p. : col. ill., col. maps
Additional Contributors: Custance, Deborah


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Dec 23, 2009

Excellent, a series of chapters with concise summaries of the most recent findings on how smart animals are. I recall reading about some of the findings only this year. Enjoyable look at the rest of the planet's inhabitants.

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