An interesting item on avian intelligence

To: "storm" <>
Subject: An interesting item on avian intelligence
From: Carl Clifford <>
Date: Sun, 10 May 2009 14:48:26 +1000
Ah but! In many species it has been shown that when a species has evolved in an environment where there is little in the way of threat in the species environment, intelligence does not develop. A good example is the Three-toed Sloth. It lives in an arboreal environment where there are no real predators. The only time it is in any danger is when it comes down to the ground to defecate, the rest of the time it just hangs about eats leaves and ferments. Probably the greatest factor in development of/selection for intelligence, is exposure to danger. Good examples are the the Baboons and our ancestors, who left life in the trees and began venturing out into the open to take advantage of better opportunities for food. Those that were the more intelligent managed to not get eaten by predators. Teenage humans are good examples too, those that engage in excessively risky behaviour frequently die before they have the opportunity to breed, those that have the ability to perceive that the danger is excessive go on to breed.

Intelligence is only a survival trait.


Carl Clifford

On 10/05/2009, at 2:14 PM, storm wrote:

My vote goes to the Crested Pigeon, though the real winner, albeit
posthumously, would have to be the Dodo.

Carl Clifford


The Dodo appears to have been well adapted to the life it had been living on an island with no humans or other predators but was unable to evolve quickly
enough (within a hundred years or so) to be able to face the challenges
(humans and those that come with them, rats, pigs, cats etc) of the new
environment. This doesn't make them stupid or dumb.

As a 1 metre tall flightless bird. probably the only adaptations one can
made are to increase one's size to be more over powering than one's hunters
(like the cassowary) or regain flight (there may be birds who have done
this?). Not living on an island would be an assistance too.

Of course that leads neatly to the question of the nature of intelligence, fitness for the environment one is living in and a range of related matters.



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