Dolphin IQ | Compared to Orca & Octopus

There are thousands of sea creatures, but only one is known for its intelligence: dolphins. Scientific approaches compare the intelligence of dolphins with humans; some experts claim that both are equally intelligent, while others focus on the differences. It makes people think about whether dolphins are more intelligent than other sea creatures, such as big-brain orcas or octopuses.

Studies have proved that an orca has a comparatively larger brain than a dolphin, and an octopus possesses 9 brains, whereas a dolphin has a single brain. To understand all these complexities, we need to dig into the details, so come with me to see which is the most intelligent sea creature and where humans stand compared to dolphins.

What Is The IQ Of A Dolphin?

Determining the intelligence quotient of an animal is not only daunting but nearly impossible. That is because IQ is a score humans have invented to estimate intelligence, it does not measure overall intelligence but it indirectly gives us a rough idea of how intelligent a person can be.

On the other hand, there is no standardized test to measure the IQ of dolphins due to the limitations. Simply put, measuring IQ is a complex task that requires valid scales and methods and unfortunately, humans have not yet invented such a scale or method. However, there are sources claiming that dolphin IQ is around 45, but these sources do not provide any evidence of a study conducted to measure the IQ of dolphins nor do these sources support their claim with references.

Here, you may find IQ controversial, but if we examine the abilities of humans and other animals, including dolphins, we can predict that their evolutionary environment was not the same in the past. Dolphins have big social groups, their long-term memory is sharp, studies suggest that dolphins are slightly self-aware, and their communication method is complex.

On the other hand, humans can use and invent new tools, and they have language and advanced abstract reasoning skills. In light of these abilities, we can claim that dolphins must have high intelligence, but human-made IQ tests are unsuitable for them based on their strengths and weaknesses, which are shaped by evolution due to different environmental factors.

Can You Do a Dolphin IQ Test? If Yes, How?

There is no way we can test the IQ of dolphins using human-made tests because each animal has its own mental patterns and if we try to examine an animal based on our mental pattern, the results will be confusing. However, there are other ways to understand the intelligence level of dolphins, such as observational studies, controlled tasks, and cognitive tasks.

Observation Studies

Researchers document the behaviour of dolphins in natural settings in order to understand how they communicate with each other, their stress levels during cooperation and competition, dolphins’ ability to solve problems and the techniques they use to cooperate.

Controlled Tasks

We cannot observe the behaviour of a dolphin without a natural setting; similarly, we cannot administer controlled tasks on dolphins without a lab or unnatural setting. Therefore, researchers use large pools to administer controlled tasks in which they manipulate objects to see whether dolphins recognize objects, examine their techniques to access rewards and see their maze navigation abilities.

Cognitive Tasks

Another way to measure their intelligence is to understand their cognitive abilities. For example, showing dolphins mirrors again and again to see whether they recognize themselves in order to understand if they are self-aware. Additionally, creating tasks that require dolphins to work in groups to accomplish a goal or noting the time they require to learn a behaviour.

Dolphin Intelligence Compared to Orca

Orca is a giant dolphin known for its sharp teeth and exceptional predator skills. Some claim that because an orca’s brain is 5 times bigger than a bottlenose dolphin, it means an orca is more intelligent than its competitor. However, this is not true because intelligence does not depend upon the size of the brain; it is about the sophistication of the brain, simply put, the brain’s advanced ability to process complex data.

Both orcas and dolphins evolved in different environments where they possess various skills, such as exceptional skills to catch prey, quick problem-solving ability, and high ecological knowledge. Meanwhile, dolphins have large social groups and slight self-awareness, mimic behaviors effortlessly, cooperate with other partners, and feel advanced emotions, such as empathy, joy, etc. Based on the findings, bottlenose dolphins seem more intelligent.

Dolphin Intelligence Compared to Octopus

Octopus demonstrates high cognitive skills, and excellent problem-solving abilities and can learn or adapt a behavior effortlessly. There is a hot debate between octopus lovers and dolphin enthusiasts that one of them is more intelligent than the other. However, we should understand that both are completely different as they evolve in different environments and possess various skills.

Dolphins have advanced emotions such as empathy and joy, and they can please other creatures, including humans. There are records claiming dolphins have helped humans; however, there is very poor evidence that octopuses possess advanced emotions and please other creatures plus help other beings.

Dolphins have advanced communication ways, such as whistles or sounds, whereas octopuses do not have the privilege of whistles or sounds and communicate by changing their colour. We can conclude that there are some strengths and weaknesses in both dolphins and octopuses, while dolphins seem more intelligent than octopuses.

Dolphin Intelligence Compared to Human

Some claim that humans and dolphins share a list of features, such as experiencing advanced emotions, advanced communication methods, and excellent problem-solving. However, dolphins do not invent tools; there is evidence suggesting that dolphins use tools, but they do not invent or innovate tools. Dolphins have sharp long-term memory compared to humans, and they can perceive advanced emotions such as empathy or joy.

On the other hand, humans have larger social groups based on complex hierarchies compared to dolphins. We can invent, use, and innovate tools, cooperate with a massive group of people, and possess the ability to communicate via language.

Additionally, humans have advanced reasoning skills, quick adaptation abilities, and high self-awareness. We can conclude that humans are more intelligent than dolphins in the light of current findings.

Final Thoughts

IQ is a term we use to score our intelligence, but when we apply it to other animals, we ignore the fact that these animals, including dolphins, orcas or octopuses, have various survival techniques contrary to human survival methods. That’s why each animal is unique in its own way, whether it is about intelligence or catching prey. Anyhow, I have explained the IQ of dolphins in detail and discussed their other significant IQ competitors, I hope this information will help you in future; thank you.

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