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Re: Raptor Intelligence

From: Garry Platt <garry@gplatt.demon.co.uk>
 >There was another sequence however which left me feeling a little uneasy
 > The Raptor's level of intelligence was often referred to during the film as
 > being exceptional (primate level?). But what evidence exists, what evidence
 > can exist, that raptors or any dinosaur had 'intelligence ' as portrayed in
 > the film,

Well, the evidence is that the dienonychids and troodontids have the
largest *relative* brain size of any known dinosaur.

However, this still puts them *well* below primate levels.  In fact
they are even below median avian level in brain size (though they
had achieved a low-avian brain size).

Given their close relationship to birds, this suggests a bird-like
intelligence.  That is, the *type* of intelligence would be similar
to that of birds, as well as the "amount".

 > i.e. problem solving capabilities (door handle sequence) and the
 > holding pen reference (testing the weaknesses of the holding pen)?

This is well within the behavioral repertoir of at least *some*
birds (for instance parrots). However, this type of behavior is
seen mostly in the more intelligent birds.

Testing the weaknesses of a cage in *some* manner* is normal
behavior for any captive animal - the only issue is how sophisticated
they are about it, and how quickly they figure out what *doesn't*
work.  (Animals of low intelligence tend to have one, or maybe
two, escape behaviors which they continmue to use without any
variance for a long time).

 > This was
 > referred to by the game warden, the actors name escapes me for the moment.
 > Is there any factual or scientific evidence that can support the
 > representation of the creatures as having intelligence on apparently the
 > same level as primates?

No, in fact quite the contrary.

However, much of the behavior shown does not require quite
a primate level of intelligence.  Wolves hunt the way the
raptors were said to hunt at times.

 > Or was this Hollywood taking liberties?


swf@elsegundoca.ncr.com         sarima@netcom.com

The peace of God be with you.