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To understand how animals think and what animal the cleverest, it is necessary to consider an evolutionary component.
The intelligence is an ability to solve any problems, showing at the same time flexibility. Thinking is an internal process for which "opening" experiments are necessary . Also exists many of components of intelligence , each of which acts irrespective of others.
Considering all this, when studying mental abilities of animals it is very important not to forget about flexibility. Without flexibility whatever difficult looked the behavior, it, alas, has nothing in common with intelligence. And the flexibility gives the chance to solve new problems and to work in the changed circumstances that is extremely important for survival and distribution of the genes.
Flexible thinking means existence of the purpose which you want to reach. No matter, that it: food, the partner, the best place for a lodging for the night, etc. And the difference is in what options of achievement of the goal you see that you undertake and whether you reach it.
And still – whether you are capable to break the global purpose into smaller. For example, you need to open a jar of canned food, but the can opener lies somewhere on the top shelf of a case. So, perhaps, in the beginning you should bring a step-ladder to get a knife, and then already to open to bank. And having only solved these intermediate tasks, you, at last, will be able to satisfy hunger.
Sometimes we take difficult behavior for manifestations of intelligence, but it can be delusion. Many animals are capable of difficult behavior, but at the same time they have not enough flexibility – and everything becomes senseless.
For example, we will take night moths. They show quite difficult behavior, but as far as these kids are capable of flexibility? The stellar light helps them to build intricate routes, and moths could seem very clever if not people who invented lamps. Unfortunate insects so still also could not show flexibility because of what constantly perish from fire. And show enviable persistence, trying to reach death source! But it not manifestation of intelligence, and absolutely even on the contrary, though behavior and difficult.
The concept of intelligence includes ability to representation. This mechanism prevents direct contact with the environment and is sometimes vital. For example, it is very important to deer to have an idea of how the predator looks that, instead of close personal acquaintance with it, instantly to escape.
The insight – ability to understand that what now resulted from your manipulation with objects or understanding as some things work can be an excellent solution matters. For example, when the dog accidentally managed to open a latch on a gate and to break loose, can light up it: aha, and so as this piece works! I can open and go for a walk it!
Both an insight, and our representations, and memory – excellent base for flexibility when the living being can use information accumulated in memory and present consequences of these or those actions, so, choose options.
Scientists tried to find out long time what animal the cleverest. Some consider that a monkey.
All these mechanisms are perfectly illustrated by one of experiences. The chimpanzee should have solved a computer problem: before it on the screen there were figures (every time their arrangement changed) and instantly disappeared. The chimpanzee needed to repeat in accuracy their arrangement, and in ascending order (1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5). If everything was correct, the monkey received delicacy. That is it was necessary to see very quickly figures, to remember them and then in accuracy to repeat. A chimpanzee with gloss coped with a task.
Different animals live in the different environment and different conditions. Therefore they need different abilities. And ecological approach allows to consider these features when we analyze behavior and thinking of these or those animals. And this view of a question is directly opposite to a statement that the intelligence can be measured by one measure – a trap to which many people get.
Therefore it is impossible to tell which of animals is cleverer: dolphin or elephant. If to adhere to ecological approach, we will watch what problems are solved by these animals in the habitat and as cope with them. And what mechanisms of thinking developed at them in the course of evolution. So in the ocean the dolphin, certainly, is cleverer. And in savannas of Africa or the jungle of India the elephant, of course, is cleverer. And in communication with the person there will hardly be someone more cleverly than a dog.On a photo: candidates for a rank "the cleverest animal". But which of them is cleverer until they found out. And whether it will be sometime possible to measure intelligence of animals by one measure? It is unlikely.