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Are Whales, dolphins, more intelligent than humans?

earthangel

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DO WHALES AND DOLPHINS HAVE SUPERIOR INTELLIGENCE OR ARE THEY JUST BIG FISH?

The following information is adapted from an article in Ocean Realm Autumn 1997 by Paul Watson.

It is commonly held by the majority of the civilised world that cetaceans (whales, dolphins) are more intelligent than humans. That fact that the Japanese government thinks of cetaceans as nothing more than ツ“big fishツ” and ツ“cockroaches of the seaツ” shows their ignorance of true scientific research.
Let’s look at the facts. Then if you are a Japanese person and understand the following you will be in a good position to write informed letters to your government and fishery industries and tell your family another reason not to eat dolphin and whale meat.

The Mammalian brain
Firstly what is the structure of the human brain? Our mammalian brain is an organ composed of three distinct structures.
1) The foundation is the paleocortex ( "reptilian" or "ancient" brain) which reflects the primordial fish-amphibian-reptile structure. This combination of nerves is called the rhinic lobe (from the Greek rhinos, for nose) because it was once believed to be the area that dealt with the sense of smell.
2) The poorly developed rhinic lobe is overlaid by the slightly more advanced limbic lobe.
3) On top of this lobe is overlaid the third and much larger segment called the supralimbic lobe.

Draped over these three lobes is a cellular covering called the neocortex, meaning "new brain." This is a fissured, convoluted layer that envelops the other more primitive segments. The neocortex is a bewilderingly complex community of intertwined axonal and dendritic nerve cells, synapses and fibers.

The mammalian brain is a complex layering of evolutionary processes that reflects hundreds of millions of years of progressive development. The billions of electrochemical interactions within this complex organ define consciousness, awareness, emotion, vision, recognition, sound, touch, smell, personality, intuition, instinct, and intelligence.

Comparing human intelligence to animals
Neocortex development is an accurate indicator of the evolutionary process of intelligence - in addition to differentiation, neural connectivity and complexity, sectional specialization, and internal structure. All these factors help us compare intelligence between species.

The much larger supralimbic lobe is primarily association cortex. Unlike humans, in cetaceans sensory and motor function control is spread outside the supralimbic, leaving more brain area for associative purposes.

Are cetaceans’ brains superior to humans’ brains?
Comparisons of synaptic geometry, dendritic field density and neural connectivity reveal that the cetacean brain is superior to the human brain. In addition, the centralization and differentiation of the individual cerebral areas are higher than the human brain.

Humans have the rhinic, limbic, and supralimbic, with the neocortex covering the surface of the supralimbic. However, with cetaceans we see a radical evolutionary jump with the inclusion of a fourth cortical lobe, giving a four-fold lamination that is morphologically the most significant differentiation between cetaceans and all other cranially evolved mammals, including humans. No other species has ever had four separate cortical lobes.

Sight in humans is a space-oriented distance sense which gives us complex simultaneous information in the form of analog pictures with poor time discrimination. By contrast, our auditory sense has poor space perception but good time discrimination. This results in human languages being comprised of fairly simple sounds arranged in elaborate temporal sequences. The cetacean auditory system is primarily spatial, more like human eyesight, with great diversity of simultaneous information and poor time discrimination. For this reason, dolphin language consists of very complex sounds perceived as a unit. What humans may need hundreds of sounds strung together to communicate, the dolphin may do in one sound. To understand us, they would have to slow down their perception of sounds to an incredibly boring degree. It is for this reason that dolphins respond readily to music. Human music is more in tune with dolphin speech.

Utilizing their skill at echo-location with elaborate detailed mental images of what they "see" through auditory channels, dolphins may be able to recreate and transmit images to each other. Imagine being able to see into another person's body, being able to see the flow of blood, the workings of the organs, and the flow of air into the lungs. Cetaceans can do this through echo-location. A dolphin can see a tumor inside the body of another dolphin. If an animal is drowning, this becomes instantly recognizable from being able to "see" the water filling the lungs. Even more amazing is that emotional states can be instantly detected. These are species incapable of deception, whose emotional states are open books to each other.

Brain-to-Body ratio
Japan claims that brain-to-body ratio that is an indication of intelligence. They claim that the large brain size of the whale is relative to the mass of its body. However most of its body is blubber and requires little interaction by the brain. Besides, if brain-to-body ratio indicates intelligence, the hummingbird would be the world's most intelligent animal.

Brain size in itself, however, is important, and the largest brains ever developed on this planet belong to whales. More important is the quality of the brain tissue. With four lobes, greater, more pronounced neocortex convolutions, and superior size, the brain of the sperm whale at 9,000 cc or the orca at 6,000 cc are the paragons of brain evolution on the Earth. By contrast, the human brain is 1,300 cc.

How humans judge intelligence
For us, technology is intelligence. Intelligence is not a naked creature swimming freely, eating fish, and singing in the sea. We measure intelligence based on the abilities we as a species excel at such as hand-to-eye coordination. We make tools and weapons, manufacture vehicles and construct buildings. We use our brains to focus our eyes to guide our hands to force our environment to conform to our desires or our will.

Whales cannot or do not do any of the things we expect intelligent creatures to do. They do not build cars or spaceships, nor can they manage investment portfolios. However, cetaceans have built-in abilities like sonar that put our electronic sonar devices to shame. Sperm whales have even developed a sonic raygun, so to speak, allowing them to stun prey from a head filled with spermaceti oil to amplify and project a sonic blast.

The whale is an organic submarine. All of its technology is internal and organic. We as humans cannot begin to compare our elaborate intelligence to the complex intelligence of other creatures whose brains or nerves are designed for completely different functions in radically different environments. Whales have biologically evolved what we utilize technology to achieve. Technology is something that the whales have never needed. They contain all the assets needed for survival and development within their massive bodies and formidable brains.

IQ Comparisons
If we look at the comparative intelligences of species strictly on cortical structural development alone, we can assign an average associative score relative to human intelligence. Let's assign the average human brain a score of 100. This is the number we consider average on human Intelligence Quotient (IQ) tests. Based on associative skills as defined by the physiological structure of the comparative brains, we will find that a dog scores about fifteen, and a chimpanzee around thirty-five. These are scores that are comfortably within our understanding of intelligence. Based upon comparisons of cortical structure alone, a sperm whale would score 2,000.

According to Pilleri and Gihr, dolphins, toothed whales, and primates have the most highly differentiated brains of all mammals, with especially Amazonian dolphins having higher levels than primates. Cetaceans are the most specialized mammalian order on the planet. Humans may be the paramount tool-makers of the Earth, but the whale may be the paramount thinker.

Other parameters of intelligence
Intelligence can also be measured by the ability to live in harmony with one's own ecology and to recognize the limitations placed on each species by the needs of an ecosystem. Is the species that dwells peacefully within its habitat with respect for the rights of other species the one that is inferior? Or is it the species that wages a holy war against its habitat, destroying all species that irritate it? What can be said of a species that reproduces beyond the ability of its habitat to support it? What do we make of a species that destroys the diversity that sustains the ecosystem that nourishes it? How is a species to be judged that fouls its water and poisons its own food? On the other hand, how is a species that has lived harmoniously within the boundaries of its ecology to be judged?

Is whaling ethical?
Recognizing these facts have profound moral responsibilities. How can humans continue to slaughter creatures of an equal or superior intelligence?

Perhaps we can convince cetaceans that our species is not uniform in its evolution toward morality and understanding. If so, we may be able to convince them that our whalers are aberrations, throwbacks to our more barbaric origins and a collective embarrassment to our species.

Most importantly, we will learn the lesson that we cannot presume to judge intelligence based upon our own preconceptions, prejudice, and cultural biases. In so doing, we will be able to understand that we share this Earth with millions of other species, all intelligent in their own manner, and all equally deserving of the right to dwell in peace on this planet that we all call our home -- this water planet with the strange name of Earth.

Bibliography and Sources:
Bunnell, Sterling. 1974. The Evolution of Cetacean Intelligence.
Deacon, Terrence W. 1997. The Symbolic Species: The Coevolution of Language and the Brain.
Jacobs, Myron.1974. The Whale Brain: Input and Behaviour.
Lawrence, D.H. Whales Weep Not.
Licino, Aldo. "Just Animals? Mammalian Studies Point to an Anatomical Basis to Intelligence." Mensa Berichten: Mensa International Journal Extra. June 1996.
Lilly, John. 1961. Man and Dolphin.
Morgane, Peter. 1974. The Whale Brain: The Anatomical Basis of Intelligence.
Pilleri, G. Behaviour Patterns of Some Delphinidae Observed in the Western Mediterranean.
Sagan, Dr. Carl. 1971.The Cosmic Connections, The Dragons of Eden.
Watson, Lyall.1996. Dark Nature: The Nature of Evil.
 

MajideSaiaku

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It is commonly held by the majority of the civilised world that cetaceans (whales, dolphins) are more intelligent than humans.

incorrect-1.jpg

What world is that your on?.
When we find the underwater civilizations of whales and dolphins, give me a call, and i will recognise them as smarter.
Having the intellectual brainpower of a 3 year old is hardly intelligent.
Then theres sentients, your total lack of understanding of biological science, the misconception all japanese are wahle-eaters in the first place, i dunno what to say, at this point, ide happily just smack you and be done with it, the way most scientists like to deal with morons (ID idiots for example) when all attempts at enlightenment have failed. But im afraid your in another country and i dunno if smacking you would acheive the desired effect or just make you more foolish.
 

Tokis-Phoenix

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Admittedly i skimmed through most of the post, but on a serious note on this topic there are many forms that intelligence can come about- but brain power does not nesarsarily equal intelligence, and neither do large brains.
Whales are not more intelligent than human beings, there is no solid proof to prove that, the evidence you showed is just theory and assumptions, and large assumptions at that considering we are barely just scraping the surface at understanding human intelligence and human brains- there have never been any proper investigations into whale intelligence in comparison to human intelligence.

I don't doubt that whales are probably quite intelligent in their own way, but their intelligence most certainly is difference to ours having evolved in completely different enviroments- whales don't have to do much in the way of solving puzzles or expressing creativity for example to survive in their environments, life is pretty straightforward- most of their intelligence comes down to socialising with other whales, but the vast part of their brain bulk comes down to controlling their bodily senses and things and has nothing to do with intelligence.
Snakes for example are almost robotic in the way they work, but they are highly evolved in terms of their senses- they have far more senses than human beings and the vast bulk of their brains is devoted to controlling their senses and bodily functions rather than general brain intelligence power- just because a snake can see heat, or taste smell, does not make it and intelligent animal.
 

Maciamo

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It is common knowledge that dolphins, whales, and othe rbig mamals (elephants, cows...) have bigger brains than humans. However, intelligence is such a tricky things to define that one cannot really compare it across species. It's already very difficult to compare intelligence from one human being to another, so what's the point when one cannot even understand clearly the way other species communicate together.

I'd say that a bigger brain (at equal neuron density, which isn't true across species) only means more potential, especially regarding memory. But potential is useless is it isn't developed properly. Our ancestors 5,000 or 10,000 years ago had about the same brain size as ours now (the bigger ones then were surely bigger than the smaller ones now). However, without writing system, technology, social organisation, job specialisation, and all those things that allow a "civilised society" to happen, there wouldn't be much difference of "intelligence" (overall) between a human and an elephant or a dolphin, because 90% of the potential wouldn't be used. Even nowadays, most people do not try to use their potential as much as they could (virtually nobody is studying or training permanently to make the best of their memory or skills).

If some kind of intelligence is more innate (speed of thinking, flexibility of the mind...), most of it, i.e. knowledge (including language and maths), know-how and skills, is aquired. Given that dolphins and other animals do not have a way to stock information in written form, and probably/possibly do not have an evolved form of language to start with, their knowledge-based intelligence is forcedly inferior. But had they the same, it could be that the most intelligent species could outdo humans for some tasks (e.g. memorising or even reasoning). We won't know it before we teach apes (smaller brain though), elephants and dolphins a language they can use (if we, humans, can develop any for them) and test them at their memory skills. Let's say that I am not very optimistic at such prospects in a near future...
 

earthangel

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Whales more intelligent than humans?

Before you believe the Japanese Government's opinion that whales are "cockroaches of the sea" read this fascinating and well-referenced article written by Paul Watson titled "The Paragon of Animals: Reflections on the Human Perception of Intelligence" [as printed in Ocean Realm magazine's Autumn 1997 issue.

http://www.seashepherd.org/ocean_realm/ocean_realm_aut97.html

Then reflect that Japanese whalers are right now on their way to the Northern Pacific to kill 260 Sperm and minke whales ... Japan should be deeply ashamed.
 

Haze2000

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Just wanted to say.
Technically a Dolphin has a 4% higher intelligence than humans.
And as for underwater civilizations, they have no hands, so they can't build, but they can communicate with us, we just have never tried anything more complicated than telling them to jump through hoops and play water polo.
 

Maciamo

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Haze2000 said:
Just wanted to say.
Technically a Dolphin has a 4% higher intelligence than humans.

Do you mean linguistic intelligence, artistic intelligence, kinestisic intelligence, rational intelligence or yet another kind ?
 

Haze2000

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IQ intelligence, the dolphin has a higher capacity for intelligence than a human does, by 4%, thought it might be 6%, I would have to look it up again.
 

yukio_michael

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I'm pretty sure if they were more intelligent they would formulate some sort of method of communicating the phrase "DON'T EAT ME".

Man are these Anti-Whaling diatribes boring.
 

Dudley

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Perhaps as we are such an intelligent species we could learn their language. Oh, sorry with the seeming arrogance of our species we have to relate it to us.

We even have numerous languages that some folks fail to learn.
 

UFSI

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IQ intelligence, the dolphin has a higher capacity for intelligence than a human does, by 4%, thought it might be 6%, I would have to look it up again.

They must look strange , sitting at the desk taking the IQ test?

:eek:
 
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They must look strange , sitting at the desk taking the IQ test?
lol really? Theres more then one way of testing someone's/somethings IQ that does not involve sitting at a desk writing with paper and pen.
I'm just gonna post this little artical here and let you guys decide for yourself. I believe with further evolution that one day Dolphins will be as smart if not more intelligent then humans but this is justy oppinion.

this is a rather OLD thread so i will assume that no one has anything else to say on this subject but this is for anyone who comes a long and reads this, like I happened to ^.^

(edit) sigh cant post the link so copy and past this and replace the _ with a .

timesonline_co_uk/tol/news/science/article6973994_ece
 

Bradsan

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To me Whale,Dolphins are smarter than humans or just as smart,humans just say they are dumb because they are from the sea or they are animals,humans will always say that they are smarter than anything else no matter what, scientist would just hide it anyway if they found something is smarter than them.
PLUS earthangel to that Paul Watson he should know other country's eat whale and dolphins so he should stop just thinking that they are the only damn country that do that.
 
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