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Re: How intelligent were dinosaurs ?
Vertebrate specialists will (or should) tell you that is is not
appropriate to ask how intelligent a non-human animal is. As was pointed
out, a cat is very "intelligent" for, or good at being, a cat. Likewise,
Troodon was good at being Troodon, and Stegosaurus was good at being a
What you CAN ask, however, is how "intellectually versatile" different
animals are. Some animals seem to have more choices in their responses
to stimuli than others. Mammals, for example, seem to be more varied in
their responses than birds, hence probably than dinosaurs as well; dogs
are more varied than porcupines; Troodon probably had the ability to make
more choices than Stegosaurus. In other words, startle a pack of
Troodon, and some go this way, others go that way, some wait to see if
there really is any danger, etc. Startle a herd(?) of Stegosaurus, and
maybe they all run off at the same time in the same direction.
Most indications are that the larger the brain (not accounting for
differences in brain structure), the more intellectually versatile an
animal is. The smaller the brain, the more it is a prisoner of
programmed instinctive responses.
Norman R. King tel: (812) 464-1794
Department of Geosciences fax: (812) 464-1960
University of Southern Indiana
8600 University Blvd.
Evansville, IN 47712 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org