Re: complexity

Troy Kelley (
Mon, 13 Nov 1995 14:52:24 GMT

I think you guys are thinking about this all wrong.

First off, some books quote dolphine brains as being larger than ours.

"The human brain weighs 1,400 grams, and the dolphin's 1,700. The
dolphin's cerebral cortex is larger than ours. It has twice the number
of convolutions, and 10 to 40 percent more nerve cells" (sorry I don't
have a page number)

Smarter than man? Intelligence in Whales, Dolphines and Humans.
Fichtelius, Karl Erik Pantheon Books, a division of Random House ! 1972

There are also some indications that brains of dolphines and whales are
more complicated than ours, especially in areas of emotional control.
"[The] difference between the brains of toothed whales and the brains of
human beings and elephants involves the so-called limbic system." "The
system as a whole is presumed to choose the appropriate behavior for
different groups of incoming stimuli."" This view of the limbic system
implies that a very important part of our emotional life must originate
there"."And from this point of view, it is extremely interesting to note
that the toothed whales have a larger remaining cerbal cortex in relation
to their limbic system than we do. Does this imply that the toothed
whales are governed less by emotion and more by reason than we are?" See
reference above) p. 39

Intelligence in man was created more by different environmental factors
than what drove intelligent development in whales and dolphines. Our
intelligence was driven by technology (tool development) whereas whales
and dolphines have no need for technology. Our technology grew out of a
need to protect ourselves from our hostile environment (clothing, tools,
fire) whereas most animals, including whales, are a bit more comfortable
in their surrondings. I'll admit, an air-breathing animal in a water
environment is not what you might call "comfortable", but this drawback
was not enough to drive the intelligence of whales and dolphines the same
way it drove ours. Our "culture" is what is part of our collective
intelligence and this all came about due to the need to conquer our
environment. And it still goes on today.

So getting back to whales and dolphines, you can't say we are the
smartest animals on the planent. You can say that we are smart, and some
other animals are smart too, but we are smart in a different sort of way.
When you start making comparisons of brain size and function, dolphines
and whales really are not too far behind. When you make comparasions in
behavioural terms you have to be very careful. Animals are smart in ways
which then need to be smart. A dolphine is much smarter at catching fish
and using echo location than the average person. Humans have a collective
intelligence that is diffused to different speciality areas, but allows
us all to work together to cushion ourselves from the hostile world.