Takehome: It’s still not clear just how intelligence develops in a life form. The relationship between massive genome rearrangement and very high intelligence in an invertebrate remains unclear but it is a promising research avenue.
Bees are not six-legged humans. They are incorporating the mathematical structure of the universe into their survival strategies. The researchers mainly demonstrated that we can use operant conditioning on bees.
Is this even sane?
At The Scientist: After witnessing the odd behavior in the wild, Zhang and colleagues brought the spiders into the lab for a closer look. Using high-resolution cameras, researchers recorded males—which are less than a centimeter long—catapulting away from the female at speeds up to 88 centimeters per second (a little over 3 kilometers per hour).
Wait. Barash’s hypothesis overlooks the fact that suffering is more than an alarm system. An alarm could be going off in an empty building. If some invertebrates show much more self-awareness than expected, it hardly follows that all do. We risk impeding humane reforms if we cast the net too widely.
Scientists clash over how to measure animal intelligence:… Taking all that into consideration, to beat the birds, the reptiles must outdo an impressive list of recently noted accomplishments. Will the reptiles win? Match? Stay tuned?
Even animal life forms don’t seem to obey materialist brain rules.
Wouldn’t that mean that the cephalopods had an even more complex nervous system in the past? For that matter, why do we hear about so much stasis and so little about evolution? The evolution must be happening very fast, punctuated by long periods of stasis.
This raises an issue: Social intelligence seems to imply an underlying intelligence in the universe. It’s not at all clear that it is merely a matter of natural selection acting on random mutations (Darwinism). For one thing, if there were no intelligence, there would be no need for social intelligence. Social intelligence is a response to existing intelligence. And no one knows how it arose.
Discovering that ants follow the same principles as computer systems raises the question of the ultimate source of intelligence in nature; it’s not the ant.
Crows and chimpanzees are thought to have last had a common ancestor 300 million years ago. Bees are thought to have had a common ancestor with them 600 million years ago. But crows, chimpanzees, and bees are all much more closely related to life forms that have not attracted attention for their intelligence. Are we just missing their intelligence? Or perhaps the question of unusual intelligence in some birds and other life forms but not others is one of the fruitful mysteries of science that invites further study.
An innate program guides newborns to seek human faces and body movements but it wanes in favor of personal learning. But that may take longer for autists.
Question: Magnetic poles can shift. We can suddenly have north become south and south become north. The continents can drift. So can these animal behaviors accommodate changes in earth’s magnetic field or its geography in order to allow animals to continue to migrate? No one really knows the answers to this stuff as yet.
Consciousness does not seem to reside in the neocortex. So complex behavior in bees has raised the question for biologists and philosophers alike.
Another strategy, one that enables social insects to engage in complex behaviors, is an established but little understood concept: The colony can have a memory that individual insects don’t have. Stanford biology prof Deborah M. Gordon, author of Ant Encounters: Interaction Networks and Colony Behavior (2010), recounts an experiment she did, to create an obstacle for ants and see if they remembered it.