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Did animal intelligence begin with Tiktaalik. Smithsonian article asks?

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Titaalik rosae/Nobu Tamura

A Smithsonian article asks, “Did the Evolution of Animal Intelligence Begin With Tiktaalik?”:

Human intelligence is unique on the planet, and even by a generous definition of language, only a few mammals and birds seem to have mastered it. Simon Conway Morris of Cambridge, England, author of Life’s Solution, believes that evolution inevitably converges on certain traits, including intelligence. The octopus, which can manipulate objects with its arms and solve problems, is an example of an intelligent animal whose ancestors (as far as we know) never lived on land. But it’s hard to imagine anything like our technology developing underwater.

The emergence of intelligence remains a mystery, Benton says: “Arguably, a coral reef is equally complex as a forest. But why primates developed big brains to navigate around and find food, but not, say, clown fish—I couldn’t say.”

The thesis of this article seems to be that land is more favourable than water to the development of intelligence. But that’s just not clear.

As the article itself notes, octopuses are quite intelligent. So, one might add, are dolphins and whales, land animals that quite happily returned to the water. And human intelligence is an outlier by orders of magnitude. If you leave it out, what would the picture look like?

Anyway, why Tiktaalik? Why not the much older tetrapods whose trackways were found recently?

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5 Replies to “Did animal intelligence begin with Tiktaalik. Smithsonian article asks?

  1. 1
    phoodoo says:

    The article is just another way that those with a scientific agenda try to pepper the media with propaganda. “Lets talk more about Tiktaalik” and more people who don’t look very closely will believe the packaged little story about how we found the missing link of sea creatures to land animals which makes the whole rosy evolution picture so clear!”

    The more they can control the narrative, no matter how chopped, bandaged and adulterated they make it, the more effective their evangelism is. Its not it a story about where intelligence came from, its just an excuse to repeat the same baloney.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Physics From Consciousness – video
    Donald Hoffman PhD, lectures on the emergence of space-time and the laws of physics from consciousness.

  3. 3

    Ah … why do you want to burst my bubble?
    Here’s what I just now wrote to the Smithsonian site/article:

    * * * *

    Wow! This is amazing … incredible … such a wonderful discovery … awesome … and more!

    The article and its content? No – that’s not what I’m so exited about.

    You see, I’ve been wondering for what seems like years now … what happened to the old space-exploring, adventure-seeking action heroes of the old comic books like Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, Superman, Captain Marvel and others that filled my youthful days with such fantasy and tickled my imagination in such incredible ways? Who – if anyone picked up the franchise to bring these action heroes to the generations born since I was so enthralled with them?

    Well it seems I have found them once again. The action heroes of old live once again, right here at the Smithsonian Institute. They’ve been renamed – no longer are they called ‘science fiction’ action heroes. No, the name of the place where they now live has been conveniently shortened and renamed to be just ‘science’ … such a nice respectful name don’t ya think?

    And the name of the new action hero Tiktaalik, while perhaps a bit tricky to remember, once I got the hang of it, was pretty neat to impress my fiends with … great job with the name. And wow … this guy Tikaalik … an action hero like none before him (or is it ‘it’, ‘her’ ?). Not even Superman or Flash Gordon was able to bring whole continents, jungles, forests, deserts alive with all manner of living things. Bears – bugs – birds – snakes – monkeys- people!

    I do have a few suggestions for naming some future action heroes … how about Molly-Kules and Adom-Split? These guys and gals could bounc around the Cosmos and create all manner of neat things, as ell as some pretty scary and awesome monsters. What do you think?

    What’s that? What are you saying? … … You’re telling me that this article is a serious ‘science’ article and not a comic book fantasy? Oh … ! But I thought I had just rediscovered Marvel Comics. Now you are making me sad again.

    Yea I guess you are right … if I had only looked at the heading I would have noticed you placed this under “SCIENCE” and not “ARTS & CULTURE” – sub-heading “FANTASY”. Perhaps you could move it over to “ARTS & CULTURE” with the appropriate apology so fantasy buffs like me could be satisfied and those interested in the boring stuff under “SCIENCE” would not be so insulted.
    Anyway, I’ll just keep on looking for the fantasy articles here and in other places like the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), Coyne’s site, the Dawkin’s site and others. Plenty of entertainment there.

    Cheers from fantasy land, and still,

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    of related interest to Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism:

    “In evolutionary games we put truth (true perception) on the stage and it dies. And in genetic algorithms it (true perception) never gets on the stage”
    Donald Hoffman PhD. – Consciousness and The Interface Theory of Perception 7:19 to 9:20 minute mark – video

  5. 5
    Querius says:




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