There is disagreement among researchers about the intelligence level of dolphins. Previous research portrayed dolphins as keenly intelligent, able to mimic observed actions and quickly reap rewards from learned behaviors. However, newer research portrays dolphins as a species that has superb cognitive abilities yet average animal intelligence.
Some researchers believe that people's love for dolphins leads to the belief that dolphins are smarter than other animals. However, chimpanzees, dogs and sea lions use cognitive abilities to process what they see and mimic those actions, just like dolphins do.
Dolphins do have large brains, and this could be why they are able to quickly mimic actions and even teach those actions to other dolphins in the pod. Dolphins are very social with people, which contributes to the theory that dolphins are smarter than other animals. While dolphins have great cognitive abilities, their level of intelligence compared to other animals continues to be debated.