Minds Of Giants: Are Whales Smarter Than Humans?

are whales smarter than humans

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Whales have captivated human imaginations for centuries, not only are they the largest animals on earth but they’re also highly intelligent and complex beings.

They are known for their complex social behaviors, communication skills, and impressive cognitive abilities.

With over 40 whale species that differ vastly, some scientists have suggested that whales may be smarter than we first thought.

That brings up an interesting question and one that we’re going to cover in-depth today. Are whales smarter than humans?

If this question has ever crossed your mind, stick around to learn all there is about how smart whales really are in comparison with humans.

Let’s get into it…

Are Whales Smarter Than Humans?

Without beating around the bush, NO, whales are not smarter than humans. If that were the case, we would all be living in whale world and not have the society we do today.

Whales are EXTREMELY intelligent beings that possess incredibly complex brains that are capable of much more than they are given credit for.

They often live in pods of between 5 and 30 individuals, but some pods can be as large as 100 individuals or more.

are whales smarter than humans
Image by Marc Di Luzio

Their social structures are complex and they have a number of communication systems that are seriously impressive.

From breaching to vocalizations, the way that whales communicate with one another is fascinating, but they don’t quite possess the prowess or intelligence that humans have.

Why Aren’t Whales Smarter Than Humans?

It’s incredibly difficult to measure intelligence when it comes to animals as we don’t have any accurate way of doing so, unlike with humans we’re we have an IQ test.

Trying to compare the intelligence of humans with whales is like comparing apples and oranges, they are two different species that live very different lives.

Whales demonstrate a range of behaviors that display their intelligence, and it’s clear that they are some of the smartest animals in the animal kingdom.

But humans have a unique set of cognitive abilities that are rarely found in any other animals, such as language, abstract thinking, and self-awareness.

These abilities have allowed humans to create complex societies, develop advanced technology, and solve many of the world’s most pressing problems.

Some humans, like the Elon Musk’s of the world, are even trying to get off the planet completely and take humans to an interplanetary species.

There’s no denying that whales are smart, but human intelligence reigns supreme over all animals and life on earth.

Again, it’s not fair to compare intelligence levels between two completely different species humans and whales have evolved in vastly different environments and therefore are totally different.

How Smart Are Whales Really?

We’ve studied whales for decades and really ramped up our efforts in recent years, and it’s clear to see that whales are some of the most advanced of any non-human species.

Whales are VERY smart, they show high levels of emotional and social intelligence as well as advanced communication skills.

One indicator of intelligence is brain size, and as you might have guessed whales have some of the largest brains of any animal on the planet.

For example, sperm whales have huge brains that can weigh up to 9 kg (20 pounds), with many other whale species having large brain-to-body ratios.

Simply observing some hunting strategies of killer whales is enough to understand just how smart whales really are.

These apex predators have been observed exhibiting some jaw-dropping techniques to hunt seals and other marine life.

are whales smarter than humans
Image by NOAA Fisheries West Coast

In the Arctic, multiple killer whales will swim in sync to form a big wave that washes an unsuspecting seal off an ice cap and into the jaws of another pod member.

They use techniques such as spy-hopping to locate their prey first, then swim at speed to create a waver that will break the ice into smaller pieces or wash the prey off completely.

Humpback whales use techniques such as blowing bubbles to herd and disorient prey before swopping in for a mouthful.

Whales use cooperative hunting to increase their success rate, and they’re known for forming lifelong bonds with members of their pod.

They care for their young, mourn their dead, and look after their injured and sick, all behaviors that we humans do too.

Whales even play with one another and experience emotions such as joy, sadness, and grief.

Killer whales have been observed carrying their dead calves in their mouths with the pod for up to 17 days, a clear sign of mourning.

Whilst it’s difficult to compare the intelligence of whales and humans, it’s clear that they experience many of the ups and downs of life that we do.

Are Killer Whales Smarter Than Humans?

No, killer whales are not smarter than humans. Whilst they are undoubtedly very smart, they don’t possess the same level of intelligence as humans.

Killer whales, also known as orcas are some of the smartest animals on the planet that we’re constantly learning more and more about every year.

Their hunting techniques are jaw-dropping and the way they care for one another is awe-inspiring, whilst they are some of the smartest animals in the world, humans are smarter.

Killer whales are seriously impressive marine mammals that are truly fascinating to study, but even they do not match human intelligence.

Are Whales The Smartest Animals?

It’s difficult to say definitively whether whales are the smartest animals, as we still don’t know a way to accurately measure intelligence in animals and put it to the test.

Dolphins, primates, elephants, and some bird species are all up there with the smartest animals on earth, but so are whales.

Intelligence can look very different depending on the animal, and therefore, measuring intelligence between species is very difficult.

are whales smarter than humans
Image by devra

What we do know is that whales are certainly up there with the smartest animals on earth, so far as we know.

The behaviors they exhibit are superior to many other animals which earn them a top spot among the smartest animals on earth.

Wrapping Up

To sum up, whales are NOT smarter than humans, but they are some of the smartest animals in the animal kingdom that we’re learning more about each year.

Whales have huge brains, complex social structures, and the ability to communicate, and have displayed a remarkable level of intelligence, but that still doesn’t compare with human intelligence.

Humans are the smartest animals on earth, at least according to what we know and the standards we measure intelligence with.

We have VERY complex societies that include literature, art, music, creativity, sports, and much more than animals don’t have.

There’s no denying how intelligent whales are, but when it comes to comparing them to humans, they are no match.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post today and I’ll see you in the next one.