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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: 1,411
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: 534
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: 4
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.


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