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Why haven't other organisms evolved humanlike intelligence?

by Jupiter60
Tags: evolved, humanlike, intelligence, organisms
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256bits
#19
Jul18-14, 07:16 AM
P: 1,482
Quote Quote by DiracPool View Post
Doesn't it make more sense that humans may have been able to survive these catastrophes because of their use of their intelligence to create and tame fire, build shelters, make clothing, preserve foods through salting them, drying them, and cooking them, and communicating through gestures and likely spoken language? My guess is that it was the humans that were able to leverage these intelligent traits that were the ones to survive the bottleneck, not the dumb ones that couldn't rub two sticks or stones together to create a spark for a campfire.
I think what you are referring to is the conscientious ability of humans to adapt to environmental conditions. In that regard, we would have to be one of the more successful species on this planet.
Humans occupy all regions of land mass with its variable temperatures and other conditions, survive on water, below water and even is space, and if advanced intelligence allows us to use technology to do so, then the level of intelligence does matter.

One could make an argument that the gut bacteria of humans are just as successful as humans, and will be no matter where humans go, either on land, sea, air, or space, but the condition here is that their niche environment does not change, but they will be just as evolutionary successful as humans in the short or long term.

Question is, what is evolutionary success? amount of biomass, longevity, position on the food chain, use of tools, information gathering, member of an arbitrary biological classification ( done by humans ), sentience, ...?
DiracPool
#20
Jul18-14, 08:21 AM
P: 580
Wow, I'm (almost) speechless. What a marvelous eloquence in that post, 256. I'm grateful for an ally here.

As such, I feel compelled to try to address your query, 'Question is, what is evolutionary success?'

That is a good question. Sorry to not sound more sophisticated, But..

It is obviously about staying alive and procreating (to the max ;) I can't think of anything else...

If I think of anything, I'll post it.
Torbjorn_L
#21
Jul20-14, 11:19 AM
P: 9
Quote Quote by Jupiter60 View Post
Why haven't other organisms evolved humanlike intelligence? It seems like it would be a huge advantage to their survival, so why haven't other organisms evolved such? Why are humans the only organisms capable of doing things like creating complex technology and using complex language?
That depends on how you define [species-]like intelligence. By definition, you have intermediate stages so any one trait isn't defining a species as such. Relevant here, intelligence isn't part of what defines a human. Not even hominins, where suggestions rather would be akin to our small canines, a truly unique trait among hominids.

So this part of the question is specie-centric.

There is very little of intelligence that seems derived among hominins. So far I know of the ability to plan ahead (corvids have problems there), suggest behavior when mentoring (chimps show but do not suggest), and handle combinatorial languages. Technology (tool use) is known among mollusks and fishes, contextual languages among birds and apes. The "complex" part here is a matter of timing, we are the first to evolve such.

So this part of the question is selection bias.

A more compelling question, since the specie-centric part fails, may be to ask if we will be alone in evolving the biased part.

Biologists commonly suggest so, specific traits are rare unless the environment promotes channeled evolution. (Such as when ocean living fishes, reptiles and mammals evolve similar body shapes.) The question why Homo evolved complex technology/language and if it suggests such a channeling is open.

Quote Quote by jim mcnamara View Post
Humans have been in the situation of fighting for territory and resources for a very long time.
So have other animals, even hominids (chimps).

Quote Quote by Chronos View Post
Mitochondrial DNA studies suggest humanity was nearly driven to extinction 150,000 years ago during a particularly severe ice age. We were again at the brink 70,000 years ago in the aftermath of the Toba supervolcano eruption.
No. Which is why you don't quote references no doubt.

- The latest population models accounting for Neanderthal and Denisovan core genes show that Africa had a population that oscillated between 10-20 000 humans. No severe bottleneck seen. ["The complete genome sequence of a Neanderthal from the Altai Mountains", Pääbo et al, Nature 2013]

- How much the Toba eruption affected the population, even close by, is entirely unconstrained. That people repopulated the area shortly after suggests that the effects were very local. [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toba_catastrophe_theory ]

To sum up the problems with these claims, they were based on mitochondrial evidence which is generally a poor informant and in this case have been efficiently refuted by whole genome sequencing.
Jupiter60
#22
Jul29-14, 11:03 AM
P: 29
Intelligence certainly has an advantage to survival. I'm not saying that intelligence alone has an advantage to survival. I never said that. Blind humans have a higher survival rate than blind "animals". A blind animal will only survive if there is a human to take care of it.
Drakkith
#23
Jul29-14, 03:31 PM
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Quote Quote by Jupiter60 View Post
Intelligence certainly has an advantage to survival. I'm not saying that intelligence alone has an advantage to survival. I never said that. Blind humans have a higher survival rate than blind "animals". A blind animal will only survive if there is a human to take care of it.
I'm not sure I agree. A lot of animals depend on their other senses more than humans do and can adapt to blindness.
Travis_King
#24
Jul29-14, 03:56 PM
P: 841
Quote Quote by DiracPool View Post
Doesn't it make more sense that humans may have been able to survive these catastrophes because of their use of their intelligence to create and tame fire, build shelters, make clothing, preserve foods through salting them, drying them, and cooking them, and communicating through gestures and likely spoken language? My guess is that it was the humans that were able to leverage these intelligent traits that were the ones to survive the bottleneck, not the dumb ones that couldn't rub two sticks or stones together to create a spark for a campfire.
And yet, I stepped on a cockroach this morning...

Intelligence is certainly advantageous to humans. And, it seems that it is advantageous to other animals which find themselves in ecosystems with other intelligent predators. I don't think anyone is disputing that.

Intelligence is one of the traits that helped us overtake similar species, evolutionarily. We are mostly hairless, relatively weak given our size, we can't see well at night, we have no natural defensive traits (like a thick hide or poisonous sweat glands) nor offensively advantageous traits (like claws or sharp teeth) besides our thumbs. We exist because we are intelligent, and it happened by luck that our species was able to develop that intelligence to what we have now. We are the dominant species of the planet and the unrivaled predator of all ecosystems (if we choose to be). Sure, a shark can get us in the ocean, or a tiger in the jungle, but give me a submarine and some torpedoes, or a tank and some shells and I'll have dinner ready by six. Yet we are, in most other respects, unimpressive as a predator.

...my original point being, although intelligence has undoubtedly helped us evolve and survive as a species, cockroaches have survived for millions of years and have not developed any "intelligence" because they get along perfectly well without it.
Chronos
#25
Jul29-14, 06:42 PM
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Quote Quote by Torbjorn_L View Post

<Mitochondrial DNA studies suggest humanity was nearly driven to extinction 150,000 years ago during a particularly severe ice age. We were again at the brink 70,000 years ago in the aftermath of the Toba supervolcano eruption.>

No. Which is why you don't quote references no doubt.
With 'considerable' effort, I rounded up a couple references.
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/n...extinct_2.html, After Near Extinction, Humans Split Into Isolated Bands

A causal relationship between the population bottleneck and the Toba super-eruption is in dispute - e.g., http://ice2.uab.cat/argo/Argo_actual...orne-Hardy.pdf, The super-eruption of Toba, did it cause a human bottleneck?
There is, however, little dispute a population bottleneck existed around that time.

Reference requests are welcome. Dismissive remarks are not.
Torbjorn_L
#26
Jul30-14, 04:49 AM
P: 9
Quote Quote by Jupiter60 View Post
Intelligence certainly has an advantage to survival.
In very few organisms, seeing how few species are and how little biomass they command. Human equivalent intelligence can be rare because it is a) low likelihood (biologist's take, seeing how low likelihood specific traits have) and/or b) it is difficult to evolve (doubtful, since it took a few million years and many hominids participated).

Quote Quote by Travis_King View Post

We are mostly hairless, relatively weak given our size, we can't see well at night, we have no natural defensive traits (like a thick hide or poisonous sweat glands) nor offensively advantageous traits (like claws or sharp teeth) besides our thumbs. We exist because we are intelligent,
As long as we are clear on the causality here, since cultural intelligence allowed us to be hairless (clothes) et cetera.

Yes, intelligence is "our thing", same as elephant trunks are theirs.
Torbjorn_L
#27
Jul30-14, 04:55 AM
P: 9
Quote Quote by Chronos View Post
With 'considerable' effort, I rounded up a couple references.
There is, however, little dispute a population bottleneck existed around that time.
The Paabo reference I gave beg to differ. Again, it is modern and based on core genome sequencing, while older refs is not.

Quote Quote by Chronos View Post
Reference requests are welcome. Dismissive remarks are not.
You are welcome to both. I see so much crap posted so when there isn't any attempt to give references I assume as default that there isn't any. It is not malice, "assume no malice", it is an assumption of ineptness. Good for you to have found those mitochondrial evidences (I assume) I found, better than going from memory. (Which of course I do too at times, putting me in the inept class when I'm wrong. And I am of course wrong at times. It is, admittedly, a fine line between productivity/laziness and too much research/effort.)
Ygggdrasil
#28
Aug8-14, 03:11 PM
Other Sci
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P: 1,393
Science just this week published a news piece looking at whether increased intelligence in various animal species leads to increased fitness. In many cases, researchers are finding that higher cognition has evolutionary trade-offs that can decrease fitness:
Raine has pioneered such studies, chiefly in bumblebees. In the lab, he tests how fast a bumblebee learns to associate different colors with nectar rewards. Some bees master each task in just a few tries, whereas others never quite get it. Colonies with the slowest learners collected 40% less nectar, he and his colleagues reported several years ago.

But by marking the tested bumblebees and allowing them free access to the outdoors, he and graduate student Lisa Evans discovered that in the wild there are trade-offs to being a fast learner. Bees that make errors in the color association test are also “more likely to assess new flower types,” Raine says. In one experiment, these error-prone bees wound up collecting more sugar than their “smarter” sisters, the team reported at the meeting and online on 17 May in the Journal of Comparative Physiology A. Raine and Evans suggest that for bees, a mixed colony of fast and slow learners might be the most successful.

Similar trade-offs between learning and other factors seem to be at work in a common European songbird called the great tit, according to a talk by behavioral ecologist Julie Morand-Ferron of the University of Ottawa. In recent studies, she, Ella Cole of the University of Oxford, and their colleagues have discovered that these birds display individual variation when challenged to pull a lever out of a tube to gain access to food. The lab-tested birds belong to a monitored wild population, and the team reported in 2012 that “smarter” birds laid more eggs and were more efficient foragers. However, for unknown reasons, these birds are also more likely to abandon their nests, negating any reproductive advantage, the researchers noted. Thus, as in bees, a range of cognitive abilities persists among these birds, Morand-Ferron said.
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/345/6197/609.full


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