“There are many great minds one the Earth and not all are human”



Have you ever wondered which animal is the most intelligent on the Earth? I guess that almost all animals have advantages when we compare them with the ignorance of the people. In spite of organic evolution and expected progress, the mankind is slowly falls into regression, loosing capacity to learn and develop into the positive direction. All what we see on the daily level is just a confirmation of decadency that has targeted the whole civilisation and it seems that animals are getting more wisdom while people are missing it.

Nevertheless, I haven’t expected that the most intelligent animal in the world is the octopus. It is true that there have been so many documentaries about the cephalopods being amazing in solving tasks and learning basic commands but I still didn’t know that the octopus, a creature with three hearts and eight arms could be the owner of the great mind, or the greatest mind in the world of animal intelligence. Before I get into the details of my impression by that little fellow, I would like to define the meaning of animal intelligence since it is important to understand it in correlation with measuring. There are many useful and working theories about animal intelligence but I like the one that explains in simply way that animal intelligence is a successful combination of different skills and talents that help animals to adapt to the challenges of their environment. Even Darwin has elaborated that only species that learn how to adapt is the one that will survive and animals have been forced to develop  their abilities so they can keep existing in the habitats in constant change.

I know that you are wondering why the octopus, among so many other animals, has been given the title of the smartest one? There are many hypothesis about it and some are confronted in between, depending on ecological or social intelligence approach. The scientists who support the ecological intelligence believe that the set of intelligent skills is a result of need for finding a food. Animals must find a food and they must learn how to get it easier and how to overcome problems on the road. The another group of the researchers stand behind the social intelligence package and support the statement that animals learn from each others, through the social behaviour and communication.  It could be both and it could be none of those.  Personally, I would say it is a bit of everything because animals learn seeing what other family members do or how they act but they also learn from their own example and through the capacity to find or get food easier, they would learn even faster. Just think about animal training that includes, most of the time, the food as an award for a good done  job.

Back to the octopus, it is a fact that those animals can solve the complex tasks( opening a jar with the content) but they can also store a lot in their short and long term memory. They are simply gifted to learn quick new adapting skills, from the moment they are born. Unfortunately, they don’t live long, maybe about two years and they die relatively young, being eaten. They are the most intelligent animals with short life that has learnt how to survive through the centuries and how to use the advantages of evolution for its own existence. The New York Times has lead one study with zoologists to give an answer about I:”On the other hand, losing their shells left cephalopods quite vulnerable to hungry predators. This threat may have driven cephalopods to become masters of disguise and escape. They did so by evolving big brains, the ability to solve new problems, and perhaps look into the future — knowing that coconut or clam shells may come in handy, for example. If a cephalopod learns something, tries some trick and it works and another cephalopod sees it? I mean, they definitely learn by watching each other, so if those pattern behaviors developed, it could pass among groups very quickly. So the only thing stopping octopuses from destroying us is a lack of leadership?” 

Those animals would be a perfect leaders in the new animal revolution. No, that wouldnt be a lion or wolf but octopus because its intelligence and even large brain could help the ambitions for ruling the new order.  The explorers of marine biology have reported that is very exciting and interesting to observe the behaviour of octopus, trapped in study aquarium.  The animal is always in work, active in consideration of available possibilities to escape the prison and join the ocean.  This friend with 8 arms  is definitely one that could make us doubting our own intelligence.

There has been one study and the scientists wanted to check how octopuses react on people with different characteristics. The plan was to let in the room with the octopuses the two people, one who is cold and not friendly and the one who is warm and who shows emotions. The octopuses have noted the both of them and their behaviour. The people were gone and in the evening, they came again to the study room and the octopus picked up its human and that was the friendly person with happy heart. They are maybe sea creatures with weird look but they know how to choose the right person, their human, among thousand of them.


With about 33,000 genes, the neurological system of the octopus is still a mystery for the science.  They know that it was the first intelligent being in the world but its complete organic structure is a puzzle, it could be an alien on the Earth because it is so different than any other animal.  If we ignore the look of the octopus and focus only on its great mind, we are still amazed how is all so perfectly matched to adapt and survive through the thousand of the years of evolution.  They transfer all knowledge  through the network of neurons and it seems almost like a transfer data in the digital universe but also like a touch of some special alien species. What I find thrilling is to know that not any single octopus is the same as another one, due to their unique personality. The researchers who have worked with octopuses even have the names for their friends in fish tank and they are surprised how each of them react different on the same stimulants.

The next time you do diving in some ocean ambient, make sure you aren’t afraid of meeting the most intelligent animal on the Earth.  It may take few seconds but use them to enjoy in your new friend with lot of admirable skills, three hearts and talent to recognise the person with the one heart on right place.



  1. Sarah’s excellent article is yet another reminder that higher thinking organisms are not just bipeds. Though, I would distinguish between intelligence and sagacity: octopi are highly-intelligent, but not necessarily the most sagacious organism on the planet.

    For example, parent octopi do not teach their offspring anything: it is a process of individual learning. This is primordial and not progressive.

    However, dolphin parents do teach/guide their offspring. The elongated spindle neurons within the neocortex of dolphins possess cells associated with social interaction, emotions, computation and analysis. Cetacean spindle neurons are found in areas of the brain that are homologous to where they are found in humans; suggesting that they perform a similar function.

    Self-awareness in dolphins is seen to be a sign of highly developed, abstract thinking. Self-awareness is believed to be the precursor to more advanced processes like meta-cognitive reasoning (thinking about thinking) that are typical of humans. Research in this field has suggested that cetaceans possess self-awareness.

    The most widely used test for self-awareness in animals is the mirror test in which a mirror is introduced to an animal, and the animal is then marked with a temporary dye. If the animal then goes to the mirror in order to view the mark, it has exhibited strong evidence of self-awareness. Dolphins do this…

    Humans can learn a great deal from dolphin behaviour, but Homo sapiens are not known for their sagacity.


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About Sarahowlgirl1982

I am a master of Political Sciences, with special focus on Security Studies, Islamic Counter Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction. I enjoy discovering and commenting things which are " in the air" but still not spoken.I also do like science writing and planing to move myself into the pure science journalism !