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Re: Brainiest dinosaur ?



> Aha! This has become one of my favorite recurring questions. Let me take
> this opportunity (or rather, seize it) to throw a monkey wrench at it
> immediately.
> 
> Normally, this discussion proceeds along the lines of "how  big was the
> brain," progressing to various observations about the ratio of "brain
> size to body size" ending in a "whose is bigger" judgement about
> intelligence.
> 
> It goes without saying that similar attempts to determine intelligence
> in modern day animals (eg. Dolphins vs.People and People vs People) have
> resulted only in endless discussion as well.  It also goes without
> saying that since we're dealing with fossils and not documentary movies
> of living animals that we'll never know.
> 
> So, what would be great, is some attempts at defining "Paleo
> Intelligence"  What on earth does that mean? Is an animal that can hide
> cleverly more intelligent than one with big long teeth that scares away
> its enemies?  Is an animal that runs fast more intelligent than one with
> big feet than can crush smaller animals? Did dinosaurs develop a written
> language? (skip that last one).
> 
> What do y'all think?
> 
> ES
> 
> 

Having the large feet is not the sign of intelligence. It's using the 
feet to stop on an animal smaller than itself that shows some level 
of intelligence. It knows it can so it does it!

And again, the big long teeth is only an evolutionary step. It could 
well be a clever thing to have evolved, but having them does not make 
the individual more intelligent. The animal did not sit there and 
think "Hmmm, big sharp pointy teeth would be useful!" they develope 
due to a need.


---------------------
Matt Stephen Staples
mss196@soton.ac.uk