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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:  nking.ucs@smtp.usi.edu