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Never Underestimate the Intelligence of an Animal

brian goodman/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- You're smarter than your dog, right? Well, maybe not, according to Dr. Arthur Saniotis from Australia's University of Adelaide's School of Medical Sciences.

For the last 10,000 years, Saniotis says the idea has been repeated "that humans are exceptional by virtue that they are the smartest in the animal kingdom," adding, "the belief of human cognitive superiority became entrenched in human philosophy and sciences."

However, Saniotis and another colleague, Maciej Henneberg, says that humans have always underestimated animals' cognitive abilities, asserting that they understand more than we think they do.

Henneberg maintains, "Animals offer different kinds of intelligences which have been underrated due to humans' fixation on language and technology.  These include social and kin aesthetic intelligence."

He points out that gibbons can make 20 different sounds that convey different meanings to communicate with their peers.  Henneberg argues that just because they're not building homes doesn't make them less intelligent than humans.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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