This is George, my new pet elephant, he is not your avarge elephant, he is infact a good personal friend of Ganesha.
A small confesion, Elephants are my second favorite animal after the Redhead, that and my dog, but my dog isn't so much an animal as a Greek god, she is infact Ares in the shape of a fat little Dachshund.
But back to elephants, elephants are probebly top three smartest beeings on this planet, and that included humans.
Now granted all Mammals are in the grand scheam of things very smart, remember that out of the 1.6 million desribed animals, 1.3 million are insects, and well you won't find any Newtons among the flies.
So all of the ca. 5500 mammal species alive today are very smart among the animals, some mammals are not super smart, the Koala has a verry diminished brain, and so probebly won't unite the 4 fundemantal forces of nature anytime soon.
Generaly speaking carnivores and omnivorse are smarter the herbavores, because it's assumed that forageing and hunting for food takes more intelligence then just standing in a pasture and eating grass. But even a cow is a genious compeard to Frog or the salamander or even the crocodile.
There are 3 major groups of animals that are generaly thought of as the smartest of the smart.
1. Primates, that includes us. These animals have big brains, good eye sight, started it's history in the trees, and even today most primates still live mostly in the trees, with just a few species of monkey and ape that live mostly on the ground.
2. Cetaceans, spesificaly the toothed whales, with dolphines beeing the pick of the litter. The sperm whale got the biggest brain of any animal that we know have lived, with over 7.5 kilos, granted the damn thing weighs 50+ tons, so the brain/body weight ant't that good. But dolphines like the Orca and bottlenose are very clever animals.
3. Elephants, Concider that the sperm whale, an animal of 50 tones, has a brian of 7.5 kilo, the elephant, an animal of at minimin 3 tones as a brian of over 5kiloes. It has the biggest brain of any land animal, granted it's also the biggest land animal.
Just size dosn't cover it all, the anatonmi of the brain counts, what parts of the brian is enlarged ect. How dence it is.
There are many ways of determining inteligence, humans use the IQ thing, which is a very flawed way of looking at it. But compearing other animals to us or eachother is very hard.
We have divised ways to try and test them, the mirror test is one, how they use tools is another, any type of language, problem solving skills ect.
But we also must observe animals in the wild, and just in everyday life.
Of the 3 major groups posted above, the elephant, has been the closest to humans, while chimps and gorrilas are kidden away in the african rain forest, and dolphins are in the sea, the elephant has been close to humans for sevral thousand years, and even from the start, we knew this animal wasn't your regular thing, Aristotle said of the elephant: the beast which passeth all others in wit and mind. The fact that the elephant god ganesha is the god of wisdom, knowlage, science and arts, says it all.
The elephant has many qualities we thought were only human, they have a rich inner life, they MAY have a spiritual life, they are artistic, curious, they have death rites(something only humans and elephants have) The have the longest childhood of any non human animal at 15 years, 15 years the baby elehpant has to stay with it's mother and grandmother to learn how to live. This is commen with all long lived, highly inteligent animals, chimps to have a long childhood at 10+ years, humans have a childhood that just gets longer and longer, 500 years ago it might have been just 12 years, during the 18th centuary you have Midshipmen in the royal navy of just 12-13 years. Today the chilhood of humans some times go into the early 20s.
But at 15, the elephant has the second longset.
The elephant even have less nice human characteristics. it's seems to be the only other animal capable of premeditated revenge killings. back in the 70s, alot of elephants were just slaughterd, what happend was that young male elephants, started to gang together, and attack human villages, basicly going to war or as an act of revenge. This was not just mad elephants, they did it as a response to the killing of their kind. So even the darker sides of humanity are seen in these animals.
Anyway I've bored you enough, this is George, he was rather quick to do, I painted him late last night, and did the crew today. He looks ok, not great, but he is my pet elephant. I plan on nameing all my elephants, but I doub't I'll have that many.