Each species' intricate quirks and varied intelligence suggests that there is no real answer to the question "Inside Animal Minds" sought to address. Maybe there is no smartest; maybe there are just some animals who are more similar to others. Regardless, what the NOVA special shows is that there is beauty in all the differences.
"Part of the experience of being human as a species is that it's a bit lonely," says canine cognition researcher Brian Hare at the series's conclusion. "I think one of the fun things about studying other animals is that over time we learn that actually we're not the only really social species... I think it's not just trying to understand what the lives of animals are like. I think part of it is that it makes us feel like part of nature. We're not here alone. There are other animals that experience the things we experience."
If you missed the series live, don't worry: they're all available online. Visit PBS.org to stream all three episodes of "Inside Animal Minds."