We are hardly the "paragon of animals" (Shakespeare, "Hamlet"), rather each animal is a paragon unto its species. In fact, let's just leave ourselves out of the equation for a minute - "us," "we," us/we who pollute, over populate, destroy, kill unnecessarily, enslave, abuse, and claim domination over a planet and its inhabitants whose mysteries (including ours) are still unknown to us. Why do "we" do this? Because we have created the tools to do so? Because it is our right? Because we can?
One of my favorite sequences in a film (looking past its use of animals) is in the film version of Douglas Adams' "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy." In the opening scene, the narrator explains that humans, are not the most intelligent species on the planet, and that dolphins are ranked above them. Anyone who is familiar with the novel, or the film, knows that the main conflict is Earth's impending doom and destruction, so that an intergalactic highway can be built, and the dolphins had been trying all along to warn the humans of this doomsday, but "we" weren't intelligent enough to understand "them." So they, in film, quite literally jump up and leave (as seen in this YouTube clip). (The irony is palpable, enjoy.) Who anointed us the most intelligent species on the planet any way? Oh right, we did.