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Which is the most 'intelligent' animal, in your opinion?

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This whole discussion is sopping with anthropomorphism. Animals haven't 'learned' anything of the kind. The whole kingdom minus humans didn't try out big brains for a while and then decide "Eh, this isn't really for us. Too much stress."

 

Animals aren't 'smart' like humans are but that doesn't mean they don't have unique mental abilities. Think of the mental acumen it takes to coordinate eight tentacles at once, or to navigate a maze of vines and branches to find a favorite fruit tree. No gibbon could write the Odyssey, no gibbon could write at all, but really who cares? Certainly not the gibbon.

 

Hmm, good point. However how are we going to discuss this in any way other than anthropomorphism. Were humans, unless we were raised by animals, or have clinical lycanthropy we can't see things from animals perspectives without making a shit load of assumptions and guesses.

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I don't think coordinating 8 apendages is even comparable to the capabilities of humans.

 

Its like political correctness for the entire animal kingdom;)

 

"No no! They are not unintelligent, they are differently intelligent!"

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I don't think coordinating 8 apendages is even comparable to the capabilities of humans.

 

And that's my point. They use their nervous system in a completely different way. Do you think you could handle eight arms at once?

 

Hmm, good point. However how are we going to discuss this in any way other than anthropomorphism. Were humans, unless we were raised by animals, or have clinical lycanthropy we can't see things from animals perspectives without making a shit load of assumptions and guesses.

 

We can consider animals in their context as opposed to simply seeing how much we can make them act like us or imparting human emotions and motivations to their actions.

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"No no! They are not unintelligent, they are differently intelligent!"

 

haha, I love that! And it's so true. ;) Different animal's cognitive abilities are optimized for different kinds of tasks, depending on their "evolutionary needs," shall we say. Humans for example have a very high social intelligence, because we are a highly social animal. Probably because of this, we also identify other highly social creatures as being intelligent, because they are optimized for similar tasks - that's why chimps and primates in general, dolphins, elephants, dogs and eusocial insects keep coming up. Animals that are capable of high levels of cooperation to get a job done, that are good at communicating with each other.

 

Meanwhile, other animals have brains optimized for navigation, or coordination, and other things that aren't as immediately relevant to every day human life. If you wanted to try and find a truly objective way to measure "intelligence," you'd probably have to go into some hardcore neuroscience to measure complexity of neural networks or something like that.

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Do you think you could handle eight arms at once?

 

Um...yeh....a human brain could control far more apendages than any animal in the animal kingdom....it of course would require acclaimation.

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Um...yeh....a human brain could control far more apendages than any animal in the animal kingdom....it of course would require acclaimation.

 

Uh . . .thats a fairly shaky assumption

 

Ok a very shaky assumption.

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Uh . . .thats a fairly shaky assumption

 

Ok a very shaky assumption.

Really?

 

How so?

 

Is there something unique about the neurons of other animal brains which human neurons are inferior too?

 

Don't think so.

 

Are animal brains or specifically octupi brains constructed in a way that is special so they can handle extra apendages?

 

Nah.

 

The only difference is octupi are born having the 8 apendages and therefore the neural pathways with muscle feedback exist from the beginning so that the animal immediately begins training its brain to control its tentacles.

 

There is nothing that limits our brain to controlling 4 apendages, I don't think that even makes logical sense to assume that because we have four that is the obvious limitation of our brain.

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Really?

 

How so?

 

Is there something unique about the neurons of other animal brains which human neurons are inferior too?

 

Don't think so.

 

Are animal brains or specifically octupi brains constructed in a way that is special so they can handle extra apendages?

 

Nah.

 

The only difference is octupi are born having the 8 apendages and therefore the neural pathways with muscle feedback exist from the beginning so that the animal immediately begins training its brain to control its tentacles.

 

There is nothing that limits our brain to controlling 4 apendages, I don't think that even makes logical sense to assume that because we have four that is the obvious limitation of our brain.

 

I see that point, but you understand what I meant. We should evaluate the mental capacities of animals in their own context.

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I don't think coordinating 8 apendages is even comparable to the capabilities of humans.

 

Its like political correctness for the entire animal kingdom;)

 

"No no! They are not unintelligent, they are differently intelligent!"

 

Its not really politically correct as its just realistic actually. A grizzly for example has a sense of small far greater then anything a human could ever hope to obtain, or more to the point its biology is suited or attempting to survive basically, and likewise it will have a certain behavior, the same is of cats for example. If you watch say a documentary on big cats like a puma, you can see behavior that mirrors in many ways that of a typical house cat. More to the point humans are human because of our biology, and another organism shares in being a product of its biology. To gauge intelligence basically needs then to be applied to this aspect. Studying animal behavior on its own in regards to many different things leads to a gross amount of complexities that still exist to this day, so would you say humans might be dumb because we have not cracked why a lion will do something, or why a hippo may nurse a wounded animal from a predatory attack?

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Really?

 

How so?

 

Is there something unique about the neurons of other animal brains which human neurons are inferior too?

 

Don't think so.

 

Are animal brains or specifically octupi brains constructed in a way that is special so they can handle extra apendages?

 

Nah.

 

The only difference is octupi are born having the 8 apendages and therefore the neural pathways with muscle feedback exist from the beginning so that the animal immediately begins training its brain to control its tentacles.

 

There is nothing that limits our brain to controlling 4 apendages, I don't think that even makes logical sense to assume that because we have four that is the obvious limitation of our brain.

 

Experiments with ferrets have yielded results suggesting that a brain is plastic enough to adapt to unusual situations like that, still though I doubt that a human would be able to control eight appendages as well as an animal that is genetically predisposed to have eight appendages.

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I doubt that a human would be able to control eight appendages as well as an animal that is genetically predisposed to have eight appendages.

 

I am baffled. What is it that predisposes the octupi to control these 8 apendages that a human wouldn't be able to control as well? If it isn't neurons, or the architecture of the brain, than what is so special about octupi that allows them to control the 8 apendages?

 

Are you suggesting that the capacity of our brain is coincidentally the number of limbs we have (or any animal for that matter), and that our brain limited the limbs we evolved....and that maybe with an octupi brain we would have ended up with more limbs?

 

 

foodchain:

 

smell, sight, other sensing that animals have that are superior to a human's isn't a result of better function of the neurons of the animal's brain.

 

It is the organ retreiving the data for the brain. The eye, the nose, the tongue, etc.

 

The superior intellect we developed apparently alleviated the need for such sensitive sensing organs.

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foodchain:

 

smell, sight, other sensing that animals have that are superior to a human's isn't a result of better function of the neurons of the animal's brain.

 

It is the organ retreiving the data for the brain. The eye, the nose, the tongue, etc.

 

The superior intellect we developed apparently alleviated the need for such sensitive sensing organs.

 

Yes, but then you have to understand the evolution of the specie as to why this is the current form and function really. I mean when you say that our brain or really the function that organ does in our biology took the role of say these other senses you basically state that evolution knew or something that humans would make it and build rocket ships or something. Second, a bears sense of smell, and its power equate into its brain and its brains function. So for our thinking process, which is much more bent on say sight, then smell, who knows how we would think for instance if smell was giving more "power" for instance or place then sight. Basically if evolution knew that a big brain was the only way to go, it would state some preexisting condition and mechanism overall. Second, one way to view intelligence may simply be natural selection in some regard.

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I am not really sure what you are saying.

 

I couldn't tell if you agreed or not with the sensing organs of species being more or less specialized or if the brains of the species were better at abstracting the data?

 

The brain is not a processor really after all, its a block of memory with more or less memory capacity, and effeciency in creating accurate associations.

 

So, a bear can't smell better or an eagle can't see better because their brain was more "intelligent" at seeing or smelling. The sensing organ could provide better data for the brain to store associatively for later prediction making.

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Are animal brains or specifically octupi brains constructed in a way that is special so they can handle extra apendages?

 

Nah.

 

First of all, I'm assuming by "animal brains" you mean "vertebrate animal brains," because octopi are animals. And second of all, that's not entirely true. Not all of an octopi's brain is in it's head. A large part of its nervous system is localized in each of its legs, each which are capable of a remarkable amount of autonomy. Humans do have something similar, where certain reflex arcs, such as those responding to intense pain, only go to the spinal chord and back, causing you to jerk away. But this is not nearly to the degree that it is in octopi. There is an actual physiological difference.

 

However, that being said, the human nervous system is capable of some pretty incredible feats. A blind person can be (and has been) equipped with a camera and a computer that translates images into sounds, and after a time, actually learn to see this way. I've seen a video of a man who was equipped with a third robotic arm that he controlled via sensors placed on his back muscles, and after acclimation could use all three arms simultaneously, and with ease. This phenomenon is called sensory substitution - look up Paul Bach y Rita for more information.

 

I think 8 arms would probably be quite the challenge, but possible. However, octopus arms are capable of a greater range of movement than human arms, and as I said before are capable of a good deal of autonomy. To acheive that level of control with 8 arms of that kind would be a lot harder, and probably cross into the realm of things the human brain is not physically capable of.

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However, that being said, the human nervous system is capable of some pretty incredible feats.

Yeh, its pretty incredible. Taste buds have been used for seeing as well in test cases of blind people....the brain can quite incredibly acclaimate to the signals it receives.

 

I think 8 arms would probably be quite the challenge, but possible. However, octopus arms are capable of a greater range of movement than human arms, and as I said before are capable of a good deal of autonomy. To acheive that level of control with 8 arms of that kind would be a lot harder, and probably cross into the realm of things the human brain is not physically capable of.

 

I still don't understand how a "physical limitation" can exist with a brain and how many apendages it can control. Other than of course the limitation of the storage capacity of the brain, and the firing rate of the neurons.

 

There is nothing special about the nervous system of the octupus that helps it control the tentacles. It just has had since birth the time to develop the pathways and feedback associations with the muscles and the brain.

 

Further...the flexibility of the tentacles compared to our arms is moot point. It once again comes down to what muscles are connected to the brain and provide feedback.

 

The best description I can think of is this:

 

The brain and nervous system of the octupus is capable of a specific throughput of data. A vast majority of that throughput may be a result of the tentacles, but it is still just brain activity. Unless the human brain has a lower throughput than the octupus brain, a human could control 8 apendages.

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I am not really sure what you are saying.

 

I couldn't tell if you agreed or not with the sensing organs of species being more or less specialized or if the brains of the species were better at abstracting the data?

 

The brain is not a processor really after all, its a block of memory with more or less memory capacity, and effeciency in creating accurate associations.

 

So, a bear can't smell better or an eagle can't see better because their brain was more "intelligent" at seeing or smelling. The sensing organ could provide better data for the brain to store associatively for later prediction making.

 

Yes, but its that organ or those cells and type in conjunction collectedly with the overall biology of a specie I think that we are talking about anymore, or at least I am. The human reality is far more based on sight rather then smell, we don’t have movies of smell sensations for instance. The biology of organism is definitive of that organisms reality overall, or a bear is a bear, and, a zebra is a zebra and, a rock is a rock or something. TO equate intelligence in a compare and contrast to human beings is basically then attempting to ignore this. A bears brain is different from a humans, for instance its far more adapted to use smell then sight, along with who knows how many other variations that we do not have, and the bear does not have in comparison to us. To look at an image of a bears brain, say a brown bear in say the pacific northwest of America, you can see this as the areas of the brain that deal with smell are quite massive. A polar bear for instance if memory serves can detect and work with smells from an excess of 20 miles. So really its an interesting area to study evolution I think, but that’s besides the point.

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I am baffled. What is it that predisposes the octupi to control these 8 apendages that a human wouldn't be able to control as well? If it isn't neurons, or the architecture of the brain, than what is so special about octupi that allows them to control the 8 apendages?

 

Are you suggesting that the capacity of our brain is coincidentally the number of limbs we have (or any animal for that matter), and that our brain limited the limbs we evolved....and that maybe with an octupi brain we would have ended up with more limbs?

 

 

foodchain:

 

smell, sight, other sensing that animals have that are superior to a human's isn't a result of better function of the neurons of the animal's brain.

 

It is the organ retreiving the data for the brain. The eye, the nose, the tongue, etc.

 

The superior intellect we developed apparently alleviated the need for such sensitive sensing organs.

 

If something is genetically predisposed to have eight appendages than its brain will be genetically predisposed to accommodate them!

 

You seem to be assuming at an animals ability to manipulate its limbs and handle its sensory organs is a direct function of the same kind of intelligence that humans measure with an IQ test. The brain is more complicated than that.

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The best description I can think of is this:

 

The brain and nervous system of the octupus is capable of a specific throughput of data. A vast majority of that throughput may be a result of the tentacles, but it is still just brain activity. Unless the human brain has a lower throughput than the octupus brain, a human could control 8 apendages.

 

It's not that I think a human couldn't control 8 appendages. It's more the degree of control, especially when it comes to the autonomy of those appendages. It's like an octupus has a little mini brain in each leg, allowing quicker action-reaction loops based simply on physical distance to the processor. Humans just don't have that. It may be a difference of microseconds, but it can make a significant impact when it comes to catching food or evading injury just in the nick of time - and doing it better than your competitors.

 

I think you may be underestimating the effect of nervous system/neural network architecture somewhat. Let's take for example elderly humans whose memory and other cognitive capacities have undoubtedly declined. Surely they have the same type of brain as all other younger humans do. What could be different? Are some of the neurons flickering out and dying? If so, clearly neuron number is in some way related to cognitive ability - say, making sure all the connections in a given pathway are present. Perhaps a weakening heart is decreasing bloodflow to the brain. In that case animals with more efficient blood delivery to the brain should have higher cognitive ability. These are all just random ideas I thought of here and now, but I think there is clearly something physically going on inside an aging human's brain that can potentially lead to a decline in certain cognitive abilities.

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TO equate intelligence in a compare and contrast to human beings is basically then attempting to ignore this.

 

I think it is ok to use ourselves as the measuring stick of intelligence, until a bear walks up and tells me he is tired of that and would prefer I considered things from his point of view:)

 

And area of a brain doesn't relate to more specialized processing, it relates to more memory storage. If you are correct and a larger portion of the bear brain is strictly for smell, that means more memory is used for smell than say, understanding shakespear.

 

If something is genetically predisposed to have eight appendages than its brain will be genetically predisposed to accommodate them!

No way!

 

An arm or tentacle or whatever isn't connected to the brain on that level of abstraction. It is connected to the brain/nervous system on the muscle level. Therefore, the brain doesn't see it as "ok ive got 8 arms attached", it sees "ive got 4,324 muscles attached."

 

A human body has more muscles than the octupus, and the brain could handle more due to the throughput example I provided.

 

You seem to be assuming at an animals ability to manipulate its limbs and handle its sensory organs is a direct function of the same kind of intelligence that humans measure with an IQ test. The brain is more complicated than that.

Not at all, I am well aware that muscle control is separate functionality then abstract thought.

 

Paralith:

 

If what you are saying is true about the localized mini brain and quickness of response and feedback, than wouldn't the most agile creatures on the planet be the smallest ones and the larger you got the less agile, due to longer neural paths?

 

This degenerative effect is not present in the larger creatures.

 

The aging process in humans (and possibly all animals) is that the strength of the neuron firing as well as the strength of the neuron associative pathways declines thus lost information and slower to answer.

 

However, don't confuse walking slower and being less mobile with neural degeneration, that is degeneration of the cells of muscles, bones, etc. A 70 year old with 8 arms would control all 8 arms fine, just slower just like they do with 2.

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Here is another way of looking at this:

 

The coordination storage capacity and accuracy of the two organisms.

 

What is more difficult...coordinating 8 tentacles that wiggly around and grab things.

 

Or coordinating 4 apendages, and standing up right and balancing without falling. Running all out at near 20mph without losing the balance. Hand and eye coordination to catch things that are going very fast, to hit baseballs that are going 90mph, etc etc.

 

The coordination abilities of a human far surpass those of an octupus.

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Here is another way of looking at this:

 

The coordination storage capacity and accuracy of the two organisms.

 

What is more difficult...coordinating 8 tentacles that wiggly around and grab things.

 

Or coordinating 4 apendages, and standing up right and balancing without falling. Running all out at near 20mph without losing the balance. Hand and eye coordination to catch things that are going very fast, to hit baseballs that are going 90mph, etc etc.

 

The coordination abilities of a human far surpass those of an octupus.

 

Again shaky assumptions! It is not a matter of weather it is harder or not its a matter of that it is different! A tentacle may not be as complex as an arm or a leg, but it certainly moves differently and has different methods of use and manipulation attached to it. A humans brain is designed to be plastic so that it could adapt to unusual attachments like tentacles, but the sheer fact that the brain is organized into different sections through inheritance indicates that these sections of the brain are genetically predisposed to handle certain tasks. If you woke up tomorrow with tentacles at first your brain would be trying to move them like the were arms and legs. Eventually you would become more proficient in their use, but your brain is predisposed to operate only four appendages, none of which are tentacles so you would not be able to use them as proficiently as an animal born to have tentacles. Its actually a very simple concept to grasp. Its not a matter of how many muscles you have its what your brain is designed to operate.

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If you woke up tomorrow with tentacles at first your brain would be trying to move them like the were arms and legs. Eventually you would become more proficient in their use, but your brain is predisposed to operate only four appendages, none of which are tentacles so you would not be able to use them as proficiently as an animal born to have tentacles.

I don't think I have ever suggested that upon immediate attachment 8 arms/tentacles could be manipulated as effeciently by a human as the octupus. I have in fact said numerous times it requires acclaimation. If a person can learn to use taste buds to see learning to control 8 tentacles/arms should not be a problem. Obviously people were not predisposed to see with their taste buds, and yet the brain can learn to do it, amazing.

 

Its actually a very simple concept to grasp. Its not a matter of how many muscles you have its what your brain is designed to operate.

 

It is a simple concept. The brain works through feedback loops from muscles, organs, etc that it sends signals too. In fact the vast majority of neural activity is not output from the brain, but feedback going into the brain. The brain acclaimates to what signals it is receiving and what the feedback changes too as it sends signals, it learns and adapts. Just like people can learn to control prosthetics, they weren't genetically predisposed to control those either, and yet somehow they can. The shaky assumption is that the brain controls things it was predisposed to control.

 

The brain is a memory with variations in associative levels. The memory block sends outputs as well as receives massive amounts of feedback from its VAST connections to the outside world (the muscles and organs of the body). The only limitation of a brain in controlling apendages, organs, and being coordinated is the throughput abilities of that brain and nervous system. There is no predisposition of animal brains for a specified number of limbs.

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If what you are saying is true about the localized mini brain and quickness of response and feedback, than wouldn't the most agile creatures on the planet be the smallest ones and the larger you got the less agile, due to longer neural paths?

 

This degenerative effect is not present in the larger creatures.

 

The aging process in humans (and possibly all animals) is that the strength of the neuron firing as well as the strength of the neuron associative pathways declines thus lost information and slower to answer.

 

However, don't confuse walking slower and being less mobile with neural degeneration, that is degeneration of the cells of muscles, bones, etc. A 70 year old with 8 arms would control all 8 arms fine, just slower just like they do with 2.

 

I never said the degenerative effect of distance would be that noticeable. Diffferences of miliseconds. To our eyes differences that aren't obvious.

 

And what is a difference in neuron firing "strength" if not a physical difference in nuerons? Either an action potential is reached in a neuron or it isn't. It is an all or nothing response. Firing might be slower if say the myelination on the axons is getting "worn" away somehow. But again, a physical difference. And I know that in the case of the elderly, things like hearing and sight decline from changes in the eys and ears, and movement is hindered by things like arthritis. That's why I'm focusing on things like memory and problem solving, as an EXAMPLE for how physical changes in the brain lead to differences in cognitive capacity. All of biology is ultimately rooted in some type of physical structure, and to assume that differences in ability are not effected by differences in structure is incorrect.

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Sigh.

 

The difference in structure is the muscles, the organs, the architecture of the nervous system. The functionality of the brain is not changed, the performance obviously is though.

 

You know the brain doesn't know what is connected to it...

 

The brain doesn't know it has X apendages or Y organs.

 

The brain has connections with a bunch of STUFF as far as it is concerned, and it receives feedback from the few output signals it generates, and from this activity it produces a controlled coordinated behaviour.

 

Nothing at all about this functionality suggests that a limited number of apendages can be attached to a specific brain. For all the human brain knows, it does have 8 apendages, the arms, legs, and 5 organs.

 

I don't know how else to explain....there is nothing different about the muscles of an apendage and the muscles of the diaphram to the brain....just the signals it receives as feedback......

 

 

Like a DSP chip.... the frequency and memory determines its performance at processing its input signals not whether or not there are 8 or 2 different streams.

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I don't think I have ever suggested that upon immediate attachment 8 arms/tentacles could be manipulated as effeciently by a human as the octupus. I have in fact said numerous times it requires acclaimation. If a person can learn to use taste buds to see learning to control 8 tentacles/arms should not be a problem. Obviously people were not predisposed to see with their taste buds, and yet the brain can learn to do it, amazing.

 

 

 

It is a simple concept. The brain works through feedback loops from muscles, organs, etc that it sends signals too. In fact the vast majority of neural activity is not output from the brain, but feedback going into the brain. The brain acclaimates to what signals it is receiving and what the feedback changes too as it sends signals, it learns and adapts. Just like people can learn to control prosthetics, they weren't genetically predisposed to control those either, and yet somehow they can. The shaky assumption is that the brain controls things it was predisposed to control.

 

The brain is a memory with variations in associative levels. The memory block sends outputs as well as receives massive amounts of feedback from its VAST connections to the outside world (the muscles and organs of the body). The only limitation of a brain in controlling apendages, organs, and being coordinated is the throughput abilities of that brain and nervous system. There is no predisposition of animal brains for a specified number of limbs.

 

See with their taste buds? Did I miss something?

 

Also the Brain IS predisposed to operate a certain muber of appendages, it could adapt to more through aclamation, but it would never be as adept as an animal predisposed to have them and here is how I know this.

The brain develops in a set way, each persons brain (barring abnormalities or mutations) develops in a bilateraly symetric way to correspond with the operation and controll of different parts of the body. Some of this is the result of genetics and some of it is the result of developmental adaptation. The brain must have genetic predispositions or it would not develop in this way.

Also prostetics are built in the image of already existing human limbs, we can learn to use them because they are copy of our natural limbs.

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