I was actually saddened by this article on animal intelligence:
Who is smarter: a person or an ape? Well, it depends on the task. Consider Ayumu, a young male chimpanzee at Kyoto University who, in a 2007 study, put human memory to shame. Trained on a touch screen, Ayumu could recall a random series of nine numbers, from 1 to 9, and tap them in the right order, even though the numbers had been displayed for just a fraction of a second and then replaced with white squares.
I tried the task myself and could not keep track of more than five numbers—and I was given much more time than the brainy ape. In the study, Ayumu outperformed a group of university students by a wide margin. The next year, he took on the British memory champion Ben Pridmore and emerged the “chimpion.”
since it very clearly suggested that neither its author nor the researchers referenced knew what in the dickens they were talking about. They aren’t testing intelligence. They’re comparing the memories of chimps with those of literate and post-literate human beings.
We don’t need to have good memories. We have libraries. And Google. It would be amazing if we had really good memories.
However, our ancestors who were primarily oral had excellent memories. How else do you think that Greek bards could remember the Iliad? Or Hindu poets the Ramayana?
I do think that non-human animals are more intelligent than most give them credit for. Or, more accurately, that humans aren’t as much more intelligent than other animals as we give ourselves credit for. Or, more accurately still, that there isn’t human intelligence on the one hand and animal intelligence on the other.