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Re: So how intelligent were troodontids?



If you ask me, EQ has very little bearing on intelligence. A human with
an entire hemisphere of their brain removed can potentially be just as
intelligent as someone with literally twice as much brain mass. It's the
complexity and adaptability of a brain that determines its ability to
generate intelligent behaviour, not its overall size. 

Also, intelligence and ingenuity are two different things. A species can
exhibit ingenious and complex behaviour simply from having it hard-wired
as instinct, rather than requiring conscious thought. Jumping spiders
can amush prey items they spot from a distance, even if it requires them
to take an indirect route to do so. For a human to ambush something, we
have to consciously map out the position of prey and the surrounding
environment, and keep in mind the sensory abilities of the prey item.
Then we have to be conscious of our own physical form to prevent
ourselves being seen or heard. I doubt that even the cleverest spider
can perform all of those mental tasks, yet it can still achieve the same
outcome.

In short, were dinosaurs dumb? No - every species was as intelligent as
it needed to be, regardless of whether that 'intelligent' behaviour
required a degree of consciousness or not. Us humans are intelligent in
a conscious way, and we tend to judge the mental capabilities of other
species with our own type of intelligence in mind. Clearly birds have a
very different type of intelligence to ours, since we rely heavily on
our cerebral cortex, something birds have very little of. Yet they can
still be taught to understand abstract concepts. If you removed the
cortex from a living human brain, I doubt you'd be left with someone as
intelligent as a parrot!

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