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Dolphin brain

Michael C. Cheney cheney at ucla.edu
Tue Feb 2 01:04:27 EST 1999

In article <iPmt2.103$aC6.373 at news5.ispnews.com>, "Tim Tillman"
<tillman at ithink.net> wrote:

| Bottem line is that intelligence alone is not sufficient to ensure fitness.

No one trait is sufficient to insure fitness.  Every functioning gene in
the vast human genome has contributed to fitness in one way or another. 
But I do think that the innate ability to learn is a very important factor
in vertibrate fitness.

I think you have been postulating that intelligence is not selected for,
and that the evidence for this is the fact that human intelligence hasn't
changed in the last few thousand years.  I think you could argue that very
little has changed evolutionarily in ANY animal in that time frame.  So
this is hardly evidence for or against intelligence being influential in
natural selection.

| dinner over the threat of the net.  I have never seen, but also never looked
| for, data that would lead anyone to believe that a pod of dolphins, after
| seeing members drowned in nets, would communicate to members that it would
| be better to avoid the easy netted cod.
| >Is there evidence for
| >this?  I was under the impression (mistaken perhaps) that if a dolphin was
| >caught in a net, and then set free, that the dolphin would avoid the area
| >where it was first caught.
| The individual dolphin might avoid an area where he narrowly escaped death.
| But will it choose life over that afore mentioned cod?

Wait, so you are just _assuming_ that dolphins probably do things that
seem stupid to you?  Isn't that sort of circular logic?  What would the
dolphin do?  something stupid.  how do you know its stupid?  Because I
thought it would do that stupid thing.

| > Also, are you saying that communication is a
| >prerequisite to your definition of intellegence?
| No.  Development of language may be indicative of intelligence.  It would be
| difficult to describe an individual human born without the necessary brain
| anatomy to utilize language in some fashion as intelligent.  Communication
| is a valuable ability.  But, I did not equate communication with language.

but you said that dolphins weren't intellegent because they didn't tell
the rest of the pod about the fishing nets.  what if they just can't
communicate, or they don't have the necessary vocabulary to describe the
problem?  They may be smart, but not have language...

(from another post)
| That a kitten seems to know to use a litter box does not imply intelligence.

I think the fact that you (or the kittens mother) can teach the kitten to
use a litter box certainly does imply intelligence.


Michael Cheney                                        cheney at ucla.edu

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