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Re: So how intelligent were troodontids?

ekaterina A wrote:
> But then were there not some recent reports of tool
> use in the Orang? The most parsimonious explanation
> would be that basic tool use evolved lower down in the
> great Ape tree.

Around ten years ago there was an article in one of the 'popular'
scientific journals (Science? New Scientist? Sci.American?) about an
orang in captivity that actually made flaked stone tools to cut string
from around a cardboard box.

This brings up another issue: just because a species has the potential
to exhibit a certain level of complex behaviour doesn't necessarily mean
that it ever has to do so. Captive parrots can be taught to understand
abstract concepts. Domestic pigs can take part in scientific experiments
where they use a joystick to interact with a computer (they even learn
faster than chimps). Chimps and gorillas can be taught sign language.
Human experimenters may well be pushing animal brains to their very
limits. A wild species may have a brain with the potential to do very
clever things, but that doesn't mean it will ever actually do any of
them. I myself have never attempted to design and build a supercomputer,
even though I'm sure my brain structure is no different to those who
have. :)

A certain amount of over-engineering is usually built into organisms.
It's like having a car that can go 200km per hour. If you always obey
fixed speed limits, it may never achieve its maximum potential. Does
that really make it a 'fast car', even if it is owned by a little old
lady who only drives 50km p/h to church on sundays?


Dann Pigdon                   Australian Dinosaurs:
GIS / Archaeologist         http://www.geocities.com/dannsdinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia        http://www.alphalink.com.au/~dannj/