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Re: Dr. Bakker and Dinosaur intellegence (was: Fwd: Bakkermania!)



Dave L. Hardenbrook wrote:
> 
> I frankly think that the old "Golden Rule" about brain size = intellegence
> is as archaic as the pelycosaurs, and we're going to be able to get any
> real insight on dinosaur intellegence from two things: Fossil evidence of
> their behavior patterns (which seem to me above and beyond any mere
> reptilian),
> and from the intellegence of their living relatives...As John McLoughlin
> points
> out in _Archosauria_, living dinosaurs (birds), have proved themselves to be
> not stupid and in some cases downright intellegent, and so "we must at last
> relegate our old visions of dunderheaded dinosaurs to the archives of
> interesting ideological relics."

It also depends on what you describe as "intelligent". Crocodiles do
things that seem intelligent in some respects: co-operative hunting
similar to any lion or wolf, herding fish into shallows for easier
capture just like dolphins sometimes do, communal creches amongst
camans like those of flamingos. I'm sure the list goes on. Just because
many of these behaviours may be governed by instinct rather than
conscious (or semi-conscious) reasoning doesn't make them any less
useful for a species to survive. In fact I'm betting that no crocodile
species ever polluted its own drinking water with hazardous chemicals
or killed off entire civilizations through war or over-use of
resources.
It's not how big the brain is, but how well you use it. Unless we
are willing to make some huge leaps of faith and use modern bird
"intelligence" in a form of palaeo-ethnography we will never know
whether sauopods used every ounce of their brains, or if maniraptoran
theropods only used a fraction of theirs. Perhaps size really
doesn't matter.  :)

-- 
____________________________________________________
        Dann Pigdon
        Melbourne, Australia

        Dinosaur Reconstructions:
        http://www.geocities.com/capecanaveral/4459/
        Australian Dinosaurs:
        http://www.alphalink.com.au/~dannj
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