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Scientist: Dolphins are stupid

Discussion in 'Woof Memorial Critter's Corner' started by Dandapani, Aug 19, 2006.

  1. Dandapani

    Dandapani

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    http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/7FF1A9D2-FEEB-4340-A0DA-DE92AF6C49EC.htm

    Scientist: Dolphins are stupid

    Thursday 17 August 2006 12:29 PM GMT

    Dolphins may have big brains, but a South African-based scientist says laboratory rats and even goldfish can outwit them.

    Paul Manger of Johannesburg's University of the Witwatersrand says the super-sized brains of dolphins are a function of being warm-blooded in a cold water environment and not a sign of intelligence.

    "We equate our big brain with intelligence. Over the years we have looked at these kinds of things and said the dolphins must be intelligent," he said.

    "The real flaw in this logic is that it suggests all brains are built the same... When you look at the structure of the dolphin brain, you see it is not built for complex information processing," he said.

    A neuroethologist who looks at brain evolution, Manger's views are sure to cause a stir among a public which has long associated dolphins with intelligence, emotion and other human-like qualities.

    They are widely regarded as one of the smartest mammals.

    Too few neurons

    But Manger, whose peer-reviewed research on the subject has been published in Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, says the reality is different.

    Brains, he says, are made of neurons and glia. The latter create the environment for the neurons to work properly and producing heat is one of glia's functions.

    "Dolphins have a superabundance of glia and very few neurons... The dolphin's brain is not made for information processing it is designed to counter the thermal challenges of being a mammal in water," Manger said.

    Manger said observed behaviour supports his iconoclastic take on dolphins as dim-wits.

    "You put an animal in a box, even a lab rat or gerbil, and the first thing it wants to do is climb out of it. If you don't put a lid on top of the bowl a goldfish it will eventually jump out to enlarge the environment it is living in," he said.

    "But a dolphin will never do that. In the marine parks, the dividers to keep the dolphins apart are only a foot or two above the water between the different pools," he said.

    Manger says the thought to jump over would simply not cross their unsophisticated minds.

    Jump through hoops

    They jump through hoops only because they have been conditioned to do so for a food reward - which may suggest the brain of a single-minded predator rather than a reasoned thinker.

    "Dolphins can actually chain up to 16 stimulus response events, but this is indicative of good trainers and not intelligent animals. Stimulus-response conditioning is thought to be a low level of intelligent behaviour," Manger said.

    Manger also points to the tuna industry, which under consumer pressure has gone to great lengths to prevent dolphins from being caught and killed by accident in nets.

    "If they were really intelligent, they would just jump over the net because it doesn't come out of the water," he said.
     
  2. Ngog_Nrythrng

    Ngog_Nrythrng

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    Utter nonsense. The dolphin uses sonar in a 3-D environment. That is how it knows its world. Its eyes are not very good. Like a dog, it uses main senses that humans do not rely on (sonar and smell). If you could only see length and width, but not height, no doubt you would not venture into the vertical.

    Every test show dolphins to be in the range of dogs or better as far as intelligence. Just because they cannot deal with life outside their normal environment does not mean they are stupid, only limited.

    Most humans would do poorly in space or the 5th dimension as well, so I guess we are all stupid...
     

  3. dport

    dport

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    Bats use sonar, does that make them intelligent? No.

    The true measure of intelligence is not how you work in your normal environment, but how you cope outside of it.
     
  4. Fred Hansen

    Fred Hansen Liberal Bane

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    :beer:

    Which is why liberals find reality so utterly crippling.
     
  5. henryj

    henryj

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    It is an important and popular fact that things are not always what they seem. For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much -- the wheel, New York, wars and so on -- whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man -- for precisely the same reasons.

    D. Adams
     
  6. nemesis

    nemesis Koolaid Gestapo

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    You could stick a number humans in a number of "abnormal" environments and watch them go crazy, this is well proven. However, a growing number of humans can't even handle the "normal" or even "natural" environment to which others thrive. Therefore, the capacity for egocentric thinking is quite impressive in humans.
     
  7. Coltman2003

    Coltman2003

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    ...you beat me to it! lol!

    :animlol:
     
  8. WINGS

    WINGS CLM

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    I swear that once I saw a dolphin on a skateboard when I was coming out of "Sloppy Joe's" in Key West.......:shocked:
     
  9. G36's Rule

    G36's Rule Senior Member

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    So this guy thinks that because a goldfish will jump out of it's livable environment to die on the floor or get eaten by the cat it is more intelligent than a dolphin?

    I would think that knowing NOT to jump out of something you can live in and into something that will kill you would be a pretty good measure of intelligence.

    But what the hell do I know.