The humble hyena is often depicted as dim-witted, but as the scientific facts would show, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Despite the negative connotations that are associated with hyenas, they are rather intelligent creatures with a complex social structure that revolves around the dominant female in the pack.
Hyena-centric studies have shown that pack behavior is more akin to that of chimpanzees than carnivores, and that the animals are particularly good at solving puzzles. Surprisingly, hyenas can solve certain puzzles more quickly than even chimpanzees, which underscores just how witty these underappreciated creatures can be.
As we noted earlier, the pack of hyenas caters to a dominant female, and she’s larger than any of the males. When she dies, her daughter inevitably takes the place as the pack’s leader. This chain of command-like lifestyle speaks to hyenas’ complex social structure, and without it, these packs couldn’t survive or thrive.
While hyenas are undoubtedly formidable predators with their powerful jaws and immense body strength, they’re also loving of their own. Hyenas can identify family members as distant as great aunts, and mothers spend excess time bonding with their young.