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How can rodents or termites build structures that surpass human engineering? Can we really explain such feats as the product of instinct? Beginning with instinct and progressing to conditioning, the 'cognitive map' and the role of planning and insight, this study examines animal engineering - from spiders' webs to beaver lodges - and reaches ground-breaking conclusions about animals' cognition and behavioural capabilities. The study ends with a discussion of what animal building can tell us about the nature of human intelligence.