Question: Do you think people are smarter than animals?

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  1. Our definition of “smart” is “thinks like us” so of course we are.
    Evolution drives a species to be just as smart, string, fast, shy, etcetera as it needs to be in order to survive in the environment they live in. People are the only animals that have really tried to out-smart our prey than to out-run or out-fight them; early people could kill a mammoth by driving it over a cliff, even though it was bigger, stronger and faster than them. This has given us an advantage. Since being smart helped us survive, the laws of evolution automatically selected for people who were smarter, leading eventually to us.
    Unfortunately, it also selected for some bad things – it is likely that we were more aggressive (liked to fight) more than neanderthals, and so we out-competed them to extinction.


  2. @laravdw: It really depends on how you choose to define ‘smart’…

    If it’s to live in harmony with your environment in a sustainable way, then I’d suggest there are plenty of animals that are better at that than humans!

    If it’s to ace a high school math test, well, then yeah, it’s probably going to be people.

    If it’s to work out how to travel long distances and spread into new countries – well, common mice, ants and sparrows have done alright in the last few hundred years, so maybe that’s a draw?



  3. As the others mention, there are different ways of being “smart”. Humans have the biggest brains relative to their body size, I think, and we also have the most complicated communications of any species we observe, so we are certainly smartest in that way. Lots of other animals have capabilities that we don’t, but I wouldn’t necessarily call those being “smarter”.