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Have you ever wondered just how smart animals are? Particularly those that live in the ocean? You may not know this, but the world’s oceans currently house some of the smartest animals on the planet. While some are more intelligent than others, there are a few that definitely stand out. If you guessed dolphins and whales as main suspects, you’re correct. While we’re still learning about these creatures, over time through observation and research we’ve realized that these cetaceans have a considerable amount of wit. And at times, their behavior is strikingly similar to humans – something which is very uncommon. To get a better understanding, let’s take a closer look to see just how intelligent these animals are.
So, how smart are dolphins? Well, it’s believed that dolphins are actually the second smartest animal on the planet, next to humans. And yes, even smarter than primates. With a high brain-to-body weight ratio, dolphins are capable of complex problem solving and understanding abstract situations. They are extremely quick learners and are very self-aware. In fact, they are one of the very few select animals that can recognize themselves in mirrors. Dolphins have also been known to use simple tools. A great example of this is dolphins attaching a sponge to their snouts to protect themselves from pointy objects while foraging for food.
They also exhibit extraordinary emotional and social intelligence. Dolphins can feel grief, pain, and joy – emotions that are usually only present in more complex brains. Additionally, they have individual personalities. Some dolphins you may come across are playful and extroverted while others are shy and timid. Spending most of their time in groups, dolphins continually teach and learn from each other. Because of this, it is believed that dolphins in larger groups tend to exhibit a higher level of intelligence.
Ok, so dolphins are pretty smart. But what about the latter – are whales smart? Unfortunately, there isn’t an IQ test that we can give to measure their brainpower. However, we do know that whales are very smart. Like dolphins, whales are excellent communicators, and they show high levels of emotional and social intelligence. They also have very large brains, actually some of the largest. Sperm whales’ brains are the largest on the planet, with its weight being almost 5 times as much as a human’s.
If you’re asking yourself, “Are dolphins smarter than humans?”, they’re not. Although dolphins and whales are extremely intelligent, they don’t quite possess the prowess or intelligence that humans have. Although dolphins use simple tools and possess unique abilities that are usually only present in complex animals, they still aren’t at the same level of tool usage, problem-solving, and overall intelligence as us. And yes, whales may have larger brains, but that doesn’t particularly mean they’re smarter. Still, though, having a larger brain usually indicates high intelligence and increased longevity.
It all comes down to this – the brain battle for the ages. Which is smarter, the dolphin or the whale. And as climactic as it seems, we don’t really have an answer. There has been very little research done on whales, for most cetacean research has been performed by studying dolphins in captivity, particularly bottlenose dolphins. And since there aren’t any whales in captivity (disregarding orcas), research is limited and often indirect. Still, though, a lot of people tend to think that dolphins are the more intelligent of the two.
If you’re in the Southern California area and want to go on an aquatic adventure, then check out Harbor Breeze’s whale watching tours! With locations in both Long Beach and Los Angeles, Harbor Breeze offers visitors the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see some of their favorite sea animals up close and personal. Whales you might see on your tour include the blue whale, gray whale, humpback whale, and more! And it’s not just whales you might see; we constantly encounter loads of sea life including dolphins, sea lions, and orcas. To learn more about hours and departures, please visit our website or call us at (562) 432-4900. We can’t wait to embark on this adventure with you – book a tour today!