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  1. #1 evolutionary specialists 
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    In 160 million years of evolution, the dinosaurs, mastered flight, but, not a single intelligent species. The insects go further back then that, today's species are remarkable, but, no intelligence. What limited these creatures, and what is it that allowed mammals to evolve into the learned homo sapiens?


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    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Would you clarify your statement that dinosaurs mastered flight? If you mean the pterosaurs, then you are wrong. If you mean birds, then I provisionally agree.

    On what basis do you claim the dinoasaurs produced no intelligent species?

    Perhaps you should define intelligence. (Good luck with that.) Some birds are intelligent by all but the most anthropomorphic definitions.

    As to your last question, unless you wish to evoke teleology, the answer is luck.


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    Ability to talk?
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    Quote Originally Posted by mathman View Post
    Ability to talk?


    You can say that when there are so many people around whose tongues seem disconnected to their brains!? Some of them even American presidents!?

    What John Galt is referring to above is that pterosaurs were not actually dinosaurs, and that it can be considered that birds either are dinosaurs or their direct descendants.

    Now for a little fun:

    I do know that no one has ever heard a pterosaur go to the bathroom (because the P is silent!).

    As for dino intelligence - in the Will Ferrell film Land of the Lost, his character Dr. Rick Marshall remarks that Tyrannosaurus Rex has a brain the size of a walnut. So later when Marshall, Will and Holly are resting in a cliff shelter, just to show them, the offended T. Rex builds a catapult and launches a compact-car-sized walnut at them.

    @John Galt - I think perhaps the way keeseguy wants to define non-human intelligence is best expressed in the quintessential American question:

    If they're so smart, why aren't they rich?
    And what does the Lord require of you but to love justice, to be merciful and to walk humbly with Him?
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    Quote Originally Posted by keeseguy View Post
    In 160 million years of evolution, the dinosaurs, mastered flight, but, not a single intelligent species. The insects go further back then that, today's species are remarkable, but, no intelligence. What limited these creatures, and what is it that allowed mammals to evolve into the learned homo sapiens?
    Agree with other contributors that defining intelligence can be problematic. Nonetheless there is no serious challenge to the idea that homo sapiens seems to outstrip in intelligence any other animal in the history of the Earth.

    I think people consider that the ability to pick up and manipulate objects, which was originally a side effect of tree climbing with what we recognise as hands, with an opposable thumb etc, was a key development, leading to enlargement of brains. Speech was another. I gather, though I know little about this, that many animal mouths, including those of some of our primate relatives, are not able to make the subtle variety of sounds that humans can.
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    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    The difficulty in establishing the source of intelligence lies in distinguishing cause and effect. For example, was speech a cause of intelligence, or a consequence of intelligence, or both?
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    The difficulty in establishing the source of intelligence lies in distinguishing cause and effect. For example, was speech a cause of intelligence, or a consequence of intelligence, or both?
    Almost certainly both, I would have thought. Same with the manual dexterity. Having a rudimentary capacity that proved to have selection value would militate in favour of further refinement, in both manual dexterity and speech, wouldn't it? And these refinements would lead to greater ability to think, about objects in the case of the hands and about describing the world in the case of speech.
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Almost certainly both, I would have thought. Same with the manual dexterity. Having a rudimentary capacity that proved to have selection value would militate in favour of further refinement, in both manual dexterity and speech, wouldn't it? And these refinements would lead to greater ability to think, about objects in the case of the hands and about describing the world in the case of speech.
    My point would be that we do not know. I am probably running almost a decade behind current thinking on the topic, but I see no emergence of a clear front runner for how we became what we are. One can get a false impression of consensus by deliberate, or accidental cherry picking; or by focusing on the latest fashion. There seems to me to be a great deal more work to be done and a clear need for an individual, or group, capable of melding anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, anatomy, biochemistry, ecology and host of other disciplines together, in a balanced manner.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Almost certainly both, I would have thought. Same with the manual dexterity. Having a rudimentary capacity that proved to have selection value would militate in favour of further refinement, in both manual dexterity and speech, wouldn't it? And these refinements would lead to greater ability to think, about objects in the case of the hands and about describing the world in the case of speech.
    My point would be that we do not know. I am probably running almost a decade behind current thinking on the topic, but I see no emergence of a clear front runner for how we became what we are. One can get a false impression of consensus by deliberate, or accidental cherry picking; or by focusing on the latest fashion. There seems to me to be a great deal more work to be done and a clear need for an individual, or group, capable of melding anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, anatomy, biochemistry, ecology and host of other disciplines together, in a balanced manner.
    Fair enough. It raises the question of what one would look for. I suppose one might in principle see developing manual skill in artifacts and could potentially correlate this with size of brain case, but that is pretty crude, admittedly. And for speech it is hard to conceive of any evidence at all of the degree of sophistication of a spoken language.
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    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    anyhow, what's so special about intelligence ? insects and bacteria are inordinately successful without it
    imo intelligence is just a tool that has been developed in some lineages and not in others - it's only our fixation with it in our attempt to place ourselves on a pedestal that appears to give a special appearance that it doesn't need to have
    if elephants were as successful as humans are now they might crow about how th trunk makes for a successful species which makes you the master of the universe + feel sorry for those poor primates who failed to get beyond the nose of a proboscis monkey
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    anyhow, what's so special about intelligence ? insects and bacteria are inordinately successful without it
    imo intelligence is just a tool that has been developed in some lineages and not in others - it's only our fixation with it in our attempt to place ourselves on a pedestal that appears to give a special appearance that it doesn't need to have
    if elephants were as successful as humans are now they might crow about how th trunk makes for a successful species which makes you the master of the universe + feel sorry for those poor primates who failed to get beyond the nose of a proboscis monkey
    What's special about intelligence is the ability to avoid this sort of thing: Why do pairs of waves make unequally spaced patterns but light patterns are equal?
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    What's special about intelligence is the ability to avoid this sort of thing: Why do pairs of waves make unequally spaced patterns but light patterns are equal?
    does this type of intelligence help you to survive ? does it help you to find a mate ? does it help you to have more offspring than the competition ?
    because when it comes to the success of a species, those are the things that matter, not how you've achieved your success
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    What's special about intelligence is the ability to avoid this sort of thing: Why do pairs of waves make unequally spaced patterns but light patterns are equal?
    does this type of intelligence help you to survive ? does it help you to find a mate ? does it help you to have more offspring than the competition ?
    because when it comes to the success of a species, those are the things that matter, not how you've achieved your success
    True. However it seems to me that one of the benefits of intelligence is that we can free ourselves from the drudgery of these mundane preoccupations of the animal kingdom. It seems to me your chosen yardstick of "success" is remarkably unimaginative - for a human being.
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    anyhow, what's so special about intelligence ? insects and bacteria are inordinately successful without it
    imo intelligence is just a tool that has been developed in some lineages and not in others - it's only our fixation with it in our attempt to place ourselves on a pedestal that appears to give a special appearance that it doesn't need to have
    if elephants were as successful as humans are now they might crow about how th trunk makes for a successful species which makes you the master of the universe + feel sorry for those poor primates who failed to get beyond the nose of a proboscis monkey

    Cyrano de Bergerac

    You were saying...?

    Actually, I agree with you entirely. An inordinate amount of intelligence, or so I hear, is nothing to be particularly proud of. Tigers have claws, spider monkeys have prehensile tails, fish have gills and men have large brains. And the Lord saw that is was good, as they saying goes.

    Maybe the reason extraterrestrials haven't contacted us (or have they??? ) is that we lack some essential sense organ that of course all successful space-faring species have, but all of those congenitally lame species of Earth lack. So they don't even bother with us.

    It may be just as Flick Montana's signature message reads: "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes)
    Last edited by 甘肃人; October 1st, 2014 at 05:42 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    does this type of intelligence help you to survive ?
    "a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness."
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medicine

    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    does it help you to find a mate ?
    "More ways to meet new people"
    www.match.com

    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    does it help you to have more offspring than the competition ?
    "Humans, with high intelligence and systematic use of tools such as hunting weapons (e.g., rifles, falcons, and hunting dogs in contemporary history), are the world's most successful apex predators, and reside at the top of the food chain throughout the world."
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apex_predator
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    does this type of intelligence help you to survive ?
    "a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness."
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medicine

    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    does it help you to find a mate ?
    "More ways to meet new people"
    www.match.com

    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    does it help you to have more offspring than the competition ?
    "Humans, with high intelligence and systematic use of tools such as hunting weapons (e.g., rifles, falcons, and hunting dogs in contemporary history), are the world's most successful apex predators, and reside at the top of the food chain throughout the world."
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apex_predator
    no doubt within the confines of the human species intelligence does matter to continue living, finding a mate, and produce offspring
    however, if we take all of life rather than just humans as the yardstick, then intelligence only becomes one of many tools in the kit to be a successful species

    we just emphasize the importance of intelligence for survival and success because it is important to us - it doesn't mean that intelligence is always the best solution for any living creature
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    no doubt within the confines of the human species intelligence does matter to continue living, finding a mate, and produce offspring
    however, if we take all of life rather than just humans as the yardstick, then intelligence only becomes one of many tools in the kit to be a successful species
    Well, it made us the top apex predator.
    As predators go, that is pretty much the best yardstick for measuring success.

    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    we just emphasize the importance of intelligence for survival and success because it is important to us - it doesn't mean that intelligence is always the best solution for any living creature
    True.
    But it is definitely what makes humans successful.
    Our less intelligent ape cousins are rapidly dwindling, whereas our population is now at 7 billion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Well, it made us the top apex predator.
    As predators go, that is pretty much the best yardstick for measuring success..
    Tell that to the rats.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Well, it made us the top apex predator.
    As predators go, that is pretty much the best yardstick for measuring success..
    Tell that to the rats.
    I was going to tell it to a rat, but I killed him and ate him instead.
    Being top predator is da bomb!
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Well, it made us the top apex predator.
    Albeit, one completely incapable of surviving without unintelligent bacteria.
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Well, it made us the top apex predator.
    As predators go, that is pretty much the best yardstick for measuring success..
    Tell that to the rats.
    I was going to tell it to a rat, but I killed him and ate him instead.
    Being top predator is da bomb!
    First, watch the rat remarks please. The avatar takes offense.


    Second, how is homo sapiens a top predator? He's not even the top of the food chain.


    While it's true they don't kill us, mosquitoes do devour us.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Well, it made us the top apex predator.
    Albeit, one completely incapable of surviving without unintelligent bacteria.
    We are also completely incapable of surviving without oxygen molecules - which must be less intelligent than even bacteria.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 甘肃人 View Post
    First, watch the rat remarks please. The avatar takes offense.
    Personally, I think rats are cute.

    Quote Originally Posted by 甘肃人 View Post
    While it's true they don't kill us, mosquitoes do devour us.
    "Zoologists define predation as the killing and consumption of another organism but generally excluding parasites and most bacteria."
    Apex predator - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Quote Originally Posted by 甘肃人 View Post
    Second, how is homo sapiens a top predator? He's not even the top of the food chain.
    Mosquitos are not top of the food chain.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Well, it made us the top apex predator.
    Albeit, one completely incapable of surviving without unintelligent bacteria.
    We are also completely incapable of surviving without oxygen molecules - which must be less intelligent than even bacteria.
    I was keeping my comparisons within the constraint of "living organisms".
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    I was keeping my comparisons within the constraint of "living organisms".
    I am not sure I understand what you were trying to say, then.
    Are you saying we not successful (top apex predators) because we rely on bacteria?
    Or that the bacteria is more successful because we rely on them?
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    I was keeping my comparisons within the constraint of "living organisms".
    I am not sure I understand what you were trying to say, then.
    Are you saying we not successful (top apex predators) because we rely on bacteria?
    Or that the bacteria is more successful because we rely on them?
    I'm saying I don't think we are universally successful compared to all other life. Are we apex predators? Sure. Can we still be wiped out by single celled organisms? Sure.

    What defines successful?
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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    What defines success as a species? How about seven billion, going on eight members and the ability to dominate and trash the planet at will? It's not a pretty picture, but there you are.
    And what does the Lord require of you but to love justice, to be merciful and to walk humbly with Him?
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    I was keeping my comparisons within the constraint of "living organisms".
    I am not sure I understand what you were trying to say, then.
    Are you saying we not successful (top apex predators) because we rely on bacteria?
    Or that the bacteria is more successful because we rely on them?
    I think Flick is saying that many of the organisms mentioned are successful in their own way. A predator can be perfectly successful even if it is not the apex predator. Herbivores and omnivores and scavengers and fungi and extremophiles are all successful. There is am implication in some posts that humans are somehow a major success and better than the rest. This is what I think Flick is challenging. I certainly am.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 甘肃人 View Post
    What defines success as a species? How about seven billion, going on eight members and the ability to dominate and trash the planet at will? It's not a pretty picture, but there you are.
    There are that many bacteria living on two square inches of soil. And we have yet to demonstrate any ability to dominate the planet. Destroy it, sure. Hurricanes still take place and wreak untold damage, sickness and hunger from drought still plague us, we still freeze to death in the winter and die of heat stroke in the summer. We're far from dominating the planet.

    If you believe in the endosymbiotic theory, then you can thank bacteria for your mitochondria. You can thank your intestinal flora for aiding in digestion and regulation, the bacteria on your skin for outcompeting dangerous bacteria and keeping you well.

    My point is simply that your definition of success is different than mine. I see humans as a relatively short term species which has caused widespread habitat destruction. In the big scheme of things, we might go down as one of the most unique organisms on Earth, but we're not proving to be particularly good for the global ecosystem, something I view as a significant failure. We are viewing success through the lens of humanity, which might cause us to value the criteria in a biased way.

    EDIT: Thanks, JG. Well said.
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    There is am implication in some posts that humans are somehow a major success and better than the rest.
    Are humans a "major success"?
    I don't see why not.

    Better as in 'more successful'?
    Compared to other predators, I would say yes.
    Compared to our ape cousins, I would also say yes.

    So, which "better" is being challenged?
    I have not intentionally implied anything, so I am not sure which inferences are being challenged.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 甘肃人 View Post
    the ability to dominate and trash the planet at will? It's not a pretty picture, but there you are.
    That´s very successful... (ironic mode on)

    How can it be that bacteria are more abundant and don´t destroy the ecosystem where they live? Why don´t humans have a way to maintain equilibrium? Shouldn´t that be like an inherent charachteristic?--- What are we lacking? Or do we have something that we shoudn´t have?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt
    My point would be that we do not know. I am probably running almost a decade behind current thinking on the topic, but I see no emergence of a clear front runner for how we became what we are.
    Like a free thinker? or you work in something related to this?
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    The 50,000 years or so of human history are like the blink of an eye in evolution's time frame.

    It's not a matter of us being "the only one to get there". It's a matter of us being the ones who got there first. It's likely any number of other species would eventually evolve high intelligence if they were allowed a sufficient amount of time..

    Ravens/Crows show promise. Racoons, elephants, certainly whales and dolphins. Even some breeds of octopus show high functioning ability which might later have given them the capacity to do the stuff we do. Octopus is my favorite one to examine because their evolution path is so very different from ours. They have green blood!!! (Due to using copper instead of iron to carry the oxygen.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by M_Gabriela View Post
    Like a free thinker? or you work in something related to this?
    It is an area that interests me, so I have a good selection of popular works on the subject by authors such as Tattersall, the Leakeys, Trinkhaus, Johanson and the like. And I dip into research papers when I can find accessible copies on line.
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    Very happy to see this discussion has spurred some interesting debate, as for the birds, that was my initial insinuation, all that is left of the dinosaurs. As for the intelligence, let us just hang with the physical attributes which would insinuate intelligence, like hands and can manipulate things, attached to arms strong enough to use them to effect ones personal environment.
    Birds do an awesome job of building a cradle for their young, however a mouses physical features would incline one to believe that the creature could manipulate tools, or build a structure. Apes, I would think, for the sake of my OP should be considered an intelligent species. Not because they can build structures, but, because they use tools,
    I would prpose that our (intelligence) is not so much in our ability to think, but. plan for tomorrow, and the long term future.
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    Forum Sophomore M_Gabriela's Avatar
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    My concept of intelligence is the capacity to solve problems. So, you can be intelligent in some areas and not intelligent in other areas...
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  37. #36  
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    A simple test for intelligence is the mirror test. If an animal can see its reflection in the mirror and realise that it is itself, it is smart. Dumb animals think the reflection is another animal, and will often attack that animal based on the idea that its territory is invaded.

    Animals that have passed the mirror test include humans, all the great apes, several species of dolphin, elephants, an octopus, a squid, several crows and several parrots. There are doubtless many other species not yet tested that will pass if and when they are tested.

    I would call all animals that pass the mirror test at least semi-sentient. Certainly they are smart enough that killing them is a form of murder.

    Intelligence is important in evolution. It carries a big cost in that a big brain consumes a lot of energy, and extra food has to be eaten. But its benefits are sufficient that many animals have developed it. Dinosaurs did not seem to have developed enough intelligence to pass the mirror test (though I could be wrong in that), but no other animal more than 65 million years ago did either. It may simply be that evolution had not yet developed enough.
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  38. #37  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    A simple test for intelligence is the mirror test.
    That is not a test of intelligence, but of self awareness. (The formal term is "theory of mind".) While the two are closely related they are two different attributes.

    It is quite possible that some animals, for whom sight is less important, would fail the mirror test yet be self aware.

    The original view was that gorillas did not pass the mirror test1. Indeed, the majority of them do not. To my knowledge only Koko, the gorilla taught sign language in a US study, has passed the test.2


    1. Suarez, S.D. and Gallup, G.G. "Self-recognition in chimpanzees and orangutans, but not gorillas" Journal of Human Evolution Vol. 10, Issue 2 Feb. 1981
    2. Gallup, G.G., Jr., Anderson, J.R. and Shillito, D.J., 2002, The mirror test in "The Cognitive Animal: Empirical and Theoretical Perspectives on Animal Cognition" 2002 MIT Press
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    John

    You could just as easily claim that IQ tests do not measure intelligence. Indeed, they do not, but the results of IQ tests correlate quite well with general intelligence. The mirror test might be more related to self awareness, but it correlates quite well with relative intelligence. So it serves as the best proxy we have at the moment.
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    I thought there were tests,, such as labyrinths. I´m pretty sure I´ve seen a few years ago a test with an octopus and a labyrinth... Those kind of tests would also be useful to measure intelligence.
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  41. #40  
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    Quote Originally Posted by M_Gabriela View Post
    I thought there were tests,, such as labyrinths. I´m pretty sure I´ve seen a few years ago a test with an octopus and a labyrinth... Those kind of tests would also be useful to measure intelligence.
    Absolutely.
    There are numerous tests. They all correlate with general intelligence. However, none are sufficiently quantifiable to provide direct numerical comparisons across species.
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  42. #41  
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    Having taken us to the top of the food chain it remains to be seen if human intelligence is sufficient to prevent us eating ourselves to death.
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  43. #42  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    John

    You could just as easily claim that IQ tests do not measure intelligence. Indeed, they do not, but the results of IQ tests correlate quite well with general intelligence. The mirror test might be more related to self awareness, but it correlates quite well with relative intelligence. So it serves as the best proxy we have at the moment.
    Incorrect. Provide citations to justify your assertion that the mirror test is a better proxy for intelligence than intelligence tests. (That's not even incorrect - it's just plain silly.)
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    John

    We are talking of animals. You do not apply IQ tests to animals, unless they have been taught to do sign language. If you want to see how smart elephants are, you have to use indirect methods.
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  45. #44  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fabos View Post
    Having taken us to the top of the food chain it remains to be seen if human intelligence is sufficient to prevent us eating ourselves to death.
    Ken

    I presume you are referring to population growth and food supply?

    If so, let me point out that the latest FAO reports show food production is growing at a greater rate than population.

    If, on the other hand, you are referring to the 'obesity epidemic', then it is worth noting that, in the USA at least, the level of obesity has plateaued out, and has not grown in the last half decade.
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    Skeptic - an attempt at flippancy on my part, but it works either way.

    I am skeptical about projecting long term trends from such short term data and especially not without a closer look at what is underpinning the variability; I would note that the extent that continuing and accelerating impacts of global warming impacts agriculture and food supply remains to be seen.
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    Ken

    Define long term and short term.

    The trend to more food production per person is 50 plus years old. The plateauing of the obesity epidemic is only half a decade, but seems to fit the curve.
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  48. #47  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Ken

    Define long term and short term.

    The trend to more food production per person is 50 plus years old. The plateauing of the obesity epidemic is only half a decade, but seems to fit the curve.
    In food production I suspect 50 years is short term variation. But I think looking at it in terms of trends is not good reasoning. I think it is false reasoning to expect those trends to continue, even if it may be possible to show reasons why food productivity can be expected to increase, by examining what underpins those expectations. Otherwise it looks like an expectation that what happens will be a consequence of an existing trend, rather than a trend being a consequence of what happens. Without understanding what underpinned past growth and what can be expected to underpin future trends in per capita food production - or why obesity rates grew and more recently stopped growing - we cannot project those into the future.

    Some of the gains in food production are based on practices that sustainable and offer opportunity for more productivity but some will have been based on practices that are not sustainable and can lead to the permanent degradation or loss of arable land area. I mentioned climate change - it's reasonable to expect it's impacts on food production to increase over time and with impacts over the next 50 years to be much greater than over the past 50 years. And to expect those impacts will continue indefinitely, far beyond a 50 year period, even with improved efforts at mitigation - centuries to millennia. Surely this is one area where intelligence has provided valuable foresight and can aid in developing options for mitigation and adaptation - yet we are yet to see truly rational behavioral responses.
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    - I think perhaps the way keeseguy wants to define non-human intelligence is best expressed in the quintessential American question:

    If they're so smart, why aren't they rich?[/QUOTE]

    Not really Mr Fat Rat, in fact for the most part I believe the average human, American, Chinese, or whoever has settled so much on the inherent intelligence, they no longer need to depend on being smart.

    Physiological proof of intelligence would stand the test of time. An octopus might be able to write the ominous equation that proves all things, but I am thinking that the creatures intelligence is not directed towards documenting great thoughts.

    In the natural world, as in the world of man, SMART in everywhere, intelligence, truly is a rarity.
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  50. #49  
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    Quote Originally Posted by keeseguy View Post
    - I think perhaps the way keeseguy wants to define non-human intelligence is best expressed in the quintessential American question:

    If they're so smart, why aren't they rich?
    Not really Mr Fat Rat, in fact for the most part I believe the average human, American, Chinese, or whoever has settled so much on the inherent intelligence, they no longer need to depend on being smart.

    Physiological proof of intelligence would stand the test of time. An octopus might be able to write the ominous equation that proves all things, but I am thinking that the creatures intelligence is not directed towards documenting great thoughts.

    In the natural world, as in the world of man, SMART in everywhere, intelligence, truly is a rarity.[/QUOTE]

    First: that's 'Flat Rat' - I've been losing weight recently. Second: I can't say I understand what you're saying here. So now 'documentation' is the acid test of intelligence? Or 'time' is? You lost me completely on the octopus allusion. Third (or fourth): I don't get what you think the difference is between 'smart' and 'intelligent'. Please define your terms more clearly.

    Also this: "[whoever] has settled so much on the inherent intelligence, they no longer need to depend on being smart." What do you mean?
    And what does the Lord require of you but to love justice, to be merciful and to walk humbly with Him?
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  51. #50  
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    To Ken

    On food production.

    The reason food production keeps growing is technology. For example, the Green Revolution was a result of wheat, rice and maize being bred into new hybrid forms that generated a lot more food per acre. Not only has this technology continued to grow, with new genetic strains appearing each year, but future genetic developments look to be even more potent.

    There are a number of ways to continue to grow food production without the restraints you refer to. For example, new soil can be made by blending ground up granite (the world's most common rock) with compost. This new soil is extremely fertile. There are developments in hydroponics, aeroponics, vertical farming and so on.
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  52. #51  
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    Skeptic, whilst Australia may not be anything like typical, less than 1% of it's agricultural land is irrigated, let alone is used at high intensity like hydroponics - and irrigation is still dependent on climate and weather; globally we rely very much on dryland agriculture for wheat and other staple crops. I think you are underestimating the extent of human reliance on existing low cost capital that makes this possible- soils, suitable climate - and overestimating how easy it is to replace significant amounts of agricultural production should large portions lose productivity due to climate change using high energy and capital intensive methods. In many ways I am a technology optimist, but I think we are facing some genuine limits to growth, and past trends will not be reliable indicators of how well we manage the challenges.
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  53. #52  
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    Ken

    Food production in many ways is easy to improve. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, where food is often in short supply, minor 'fixes' can make major differences. A little fertiliser. Better composting. Better genetic strains of crops. Better pest control. There have been plenty of situations where productivity has been doubled or tripled without using terribly sophisticated measures.

    But those more sophisticated measures are also possible. For example, you can reduce irrigation water quantities by 80% by going from flood irrigation (the most common) to trickle field irrigation, and multiply the area able to be irrigated with a specific water supply. These things will not come overnight to third world nations, but they are spreading nevertheless. Improved genetics of crops carries perhaps the greatest potential for increased production.

    Over the past few decades, the percentage of people in the world going to bed hungry has been dropping, despite the increase in total population size. This is due to increased food production, and the signs are that this increase will continue.
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  54. #53  
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    Quote Originally Posted by 甘肃人 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by keeseguy View Post
    - I think perhaps the way keeseguy wants to define non-human intelligence is best expressed in the quintessential American question:

    If they're so smart, why aren't they rich?
    Not really Mr Fat Rat, in fact for the most part I believe the average human, American, Chinese, or whoever has settled so much on the inherent intelligence, they no longer need to depend on being smart.

    Physiological proof of intelligence would stand the test of time. An octopus might be able to write the ominous equation that proves all things, but I am thinking that the creatures intelligence is not directed towards documenting great thoughts.

    In the natural world, as in the world of man, SMART in everywhere, intelligence, truly is a rarity.
    First: that's 'Flat Rat' - I've been losing weight recently. Second: I can't say I understand what you're saying here. So now 'documentation' is the acid test of intelligence? Or 'time' is? You lost me completely on the octopus allusion. Third (or fourth): I don't get what you think the difference is between 'smart' and 'intelligent'. Please define your terms more clearly.

    Also this: "[whoever] has settled so much on the inherent intelligence, they no longer need to depend on being smart." What do you mean? [/QUOTE]

    For the sake of fortifying the question of the OP, I appreciate the abilities of creatures in the natural world, some critters are pretty smart. My assertion towards intelligence would leave a species with physical evidence of it's ability to use it's strong brain.
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