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If we were to suddenly go extinct

  1. Mar 17, 2005 #1
    Which evolutionary lineages do you think would have the best shot at taking our place and obtaining human-like intelligence?
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  3. Mar 18, 2005 #2
  4. Mar 18, 2005 #3
    Are you talking about a scenario where no other species go extinct? Whichever species is the highest-evolved would have the best shot. If land animals were wiped out, then whales and dolphins would have the best shot. If only humans were wiped out, then chimpanzees would have the best shot.
  5. Mar 18, 2005 #4


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    I dont think there would be any other species that would 'evolve' into anything close to our intelligence level. We are that cream of the crop that actually evolved from primates. Today's monkeys are dumb as a door knob, and whales are inefficient and obsolete in their essence
  6. Mar 18, 2005 #5
    I disagree, Earth's fossil records show steady brain increase in ALOT of different animals, mammals and reptiles...so it is possible if we were to be completely wiped out then some other evolutionary lineage would evolve to what we are today or close to it. I think it would be the rodents, we were all similar to rodents way back when the Dinosaur's dominated Earth.
  7. Mar 19, 2005 #6
    Chimpanzee vs child-human intelligence

    There is a lengthy discussion of animal intelligence here...

    ...including comparisons between chimpanzee and child-human intelligence.

    There is considerable overlap between apes and children in problem-
    solving capabilities. In the problem of assembling sticks to reach a
    reward, for example, the performance of the brightest chimps is
    equaled only by normal children of 9 or 10 years of age.

    There is a table in this Physics Forums post...

    ...showing that an adult human with the mental ability of a nine-year-old child would have and IQ of 56.25 and an adult human with the mental ability of a ten-year-old child would have an IQ of 62.5.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2005
  8. Mar 19, 2005 #7


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    I think some critter would eventually grab the brass ring. Higher order intelligence is so appealing, the niche would beg to be filled. It is logical to think the ape family is still the first in line. But, population wise, they are a long shot. They too are very vulnerable because of their low numbers. Humans got lucky. We grew out of an ancestor pool that, at one time, only numbered a few thousand. But nature really likes smart critters. Bigger brains have been at the top of the natural selection office pool for over 100 million years.
  9. Mar 19, 2005 #8
    How about dolphins? but I guess unless they evolve into creatures with arms and opposable thumbs and become land-dwellers it wont happen....it wont happen lol
  10. Mar 19, 2005 #9
    No species would evolve into a human. Intelligence as far as humans go would probably eventually be surpassed by some other species, but what species, and how they evolve into it, would certainly exhibit very little similarity.

    Saying today's primates are dumb is quite an incorrect statement, as is considering the human race the cream of the crop - we are quite the flawed species at this point in time.

    I would imagine that the species to look closest at would be the dolphin and the chimpanzee although any disaster that would annihilate the entire human race would surely affect many other species which could lead to a completely unexpected species eventually taking over at the top of the evolutionary chain.
  11. Mar 19, 2005 #10


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    Dolphins could easily jump to the top of the food, and intellectual chain. They could very well replace us, should we get out of the way.
  12. Mar 19, 2005 #11
    How about evolving to obtain human-like intelligence? there probably would not be alot of good candidates.
  13. Mar 24, 2005 #12
    True, human-like intelligence would be a lot more difficult for dolphins and other animals to evolve. Their type of intelligence would be (and is) very different from ours- different parts of their brains are emphasized, they live in a totally different environment, etc. I guess chimps would be most likely to become intelligent in a more human-like way, since their DNA is 98% the same as ours. There would be many differences with them too, though. No animal is going to evolve into a furry copy of us.

    Non-mammals show promise too. Some birds are pretty smart, like crows. I've read that octopi are very intelligent, and that they've been very successful in "IQ tests" given to them- things like figuring out how to open containers and pressing buttons in the right sequence. They also have very good long-term memory. One researcher even said the problem is that they have a life span of around three years, and that if they lived as long as humans, they would have developed civilization by now! (lol)
  14. Mar 24, 2005 #13
    An octopi versus human war would certainly happen!
  15. Mar 25, 2005 #14


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    There are some surprisingly bright critters around besides humans. The african grey parrot is thought by many to rival the chimpanze and dolphin. The octupus, as already noted is also very bright - and one of the most prehensile creatures in existence. That is a huge advantage for any critter looking to move up the evolutionary ladder. It would be fascinating to see what they could do if they lived for say 20-30 years. Perhaps we could give them a jump start on forming their own civilization through gene therapy. I've often wondered about that, about the benefits [or consequences] of manipulating the gene pool of other creatures. It would be pretty ironic if we genetically engineered our own replacements.
  16. Mar 28, 2005 #15
    I read that alot of monkeys are very smart, as in (can't prove this, so don't say this is right, just possible) IQs of monkeys may be in the 100 range :bugeye: . if this is true, then they are very smart, considering the average human IQ is 105-110. could this mean that there are some monkeys that are smarter than humans? But the point is, monkeys are not dumb, they are very smart. also, was there an ape that knew sign-language? i heard there was, but don't know for sure. that would be pretty cool.

  17. Mar 28, 2005 #16


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    Why would they want to have less intelligence like humans. :biggrin: Refer to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

    Actually, elephants are smart, as are dolphins and whales. Maybe they would or will evolve in intelligence. The nice thing is that they do not appear to be destroying one another or the environment to survive.

    Perhaps another primate will develop.

    With things like television (e.g. reality shows), environmental pollution, wars and so on, I have to wonder how intelligent we humans are. :confused:
  18. Mar 28, 2005 #17
    I saw that National Geographic Channel special on "Searching for the ultimate survivor" this Saturday, well its about how there were alot of "human beings" prototype walking around (I think there were like 4-6 of them) at the same time, and we were one of them, neanderthals were another and I forgot the other ones and we were just lucky that we evolved and they died off but I never knew that.

    Here it is:
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2005
  19. Mar 28, 2005 #18
    Except Survivor and The Apprentice... :biggrin:
  20. Mar 28, 2005 #19
    Intelligence - monkey, chimpanzee, and human

    Chimpanzees are not monkeys ("because of their similarity to monkeys, apes such as chimpanzees and gibbons are sometimes incorrectly called monkeys"), and chimpanzees are more intelligent than monkeys.

    In terms of measured learning and problem-solving
    capacities, the single-cell protozoan (e.g., the ameba) rank at the
    bottom of the scale, followed in order by the invertebrates, the
    lower mammals, the primates, and man. The vertebrates have been
    studied most intensively and show fishes at the bottom of the
    capacity scale, followed by amphibians, reptiles, and birds. Then
    comes the mammals, with rodents at the bottom followed by the
    ungulates (cow, horse, pig, and elephant, in ascending order), then
    the carnivores (cats and dogs), and finally the primates, in order:
    new world monkeys, old world monkeys, the apes (gibbon, orangutan,
    gorilla, chimpanzee),
    and, at the pinnacle, humans.


    Since the late 60s, chimpanzees and gorillas have been learning a modified form of sign language, taught by patient humans. It all began with Washoe the chimpanzee in the sixties, followed by the gorillas Koko and Michael (now deceased). Washoe learned a little over a hundred signs, but Koko learned over 1,000 signs.
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