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BIOL 436 (1)
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4 - Lefebvre - Evolution and Society.docx

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Department
Biology (Sci)
Course
BIOL 436
Professor
Louis Lefebvre
Semester
Fall

Description
Guest Speaker 1Sept 18 Louis Lefebvre Evolution and Society Is intelligence a biological traitTests for intelligence can be done in captivity where all the factors can be controlled but some animals may be nervous or the tests given to them may not even be relevantObservations in the field are good because an animal is in its own environment and doing things relevant to its survival but factors cannot be controlledIn the field we expect there to be quantitative differencesSome of the few animals that pass the mirrortest are chimpanzees corvids dolphins elephants magpies gorillas and orangutans When an animal uses a tool we want to know whether it actually knows what it is doing or just poking at random use traptube with food example o During successive trials the trap is moved to opposite side to see if the animal realizes that the problem has changed o Despite problems of animals being nervous in captivity in general they perform appropriately to their intelligence levels on the testsOne way to measure intelligence is to track the way new behaviours are developed in the fieldA crow demonstrates its intelligence by baitfishing holding a piece of bread in the water to attract a fishcrows do not normally do this demonstrating that they show the most amount of innovation among birdsInnovation and tool use can also be measured in primates chimpanzees and orangutans are at the top of the chart Separate primate lineages are also near the top showing that they evolved intelligence separately tufted capuchins Japanese macaquesGroups like corvids are the birds with the highest rates of innovations and the ones with the largest cortex and striatumChimps have the highest innovation rates among primates and also have the largest cortex and striatumAnimals that are not innovative and do not display much tool use have a smaller cortex and striatumshows convergent independent evolution of intelligence along separate linesSocial and generalized insects ants termites bees have more gyrified mushroom bodiescomplex lifestyles leads to a more complex brain structureSomething about the nervous system correlates with something about the complexity of the lifestyleCreationists argue that intelligence can be correlated to brain size with 999 accuracy However it doesnt factor how much is due to the environment ie better nutrition education
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