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Why didn't the Dinosaurs evolve an Intelligence?


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Showing 1-25 of 274 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 5, 2012 11:02:25 PM PST
Hoo-Zen!! says:
for my money (I use the term metaphorically) the fact that the bone structure of both birds and dinosaurs is relatively incredibly strong for its weight and allows for incredibibly heavy musculature meant that it was easier to escalate force and that once brawn reached a certain average size intelligence wasn't going to help you.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2012 7:12:49 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 6, 2012 8:58:01 AM PST
barbW says:
There were the Troodons who had a comparable brain/body ratio to the lower primates, and they were bipedal, but they were all killed off by a flying mountain.

p.s. Had they survived, they would have changed so many things in the next 60 million years, we would never have evolved?

Posted on Nov 6, 2012 9:38:35 AM PST
Rev. Otter says:
<<Why didn't the Dinosaurs evolve an Intelligence?>>

who says they didn't?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2012 9:57:04 AM PST
M. Helsdon says:
"There were the Troodons who had a comparable brain/body ratio to the lower primates, and they were bipedal, but they were all killed off by a flying mountain."

Sadly, whilst Troodon Inequalis were alive today its brain size would place it among the upper edge of living reptiles, but it would still be classed below modern avians. Casts of Troodon's skull gives a brain size of about 20 ml; in comparison a human brain is about 1,400 ml, and primates of a comparable body size to Troodon have much larger brains than it did.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2012 10:54:04 AM PST
barbW says:
that small? Thanks, MH.

smart as an opossum-

11 foot tall

adapted to living in colder climes, eyes more adapted to low light conditions

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2012 11:34:50 AM PST
M. Helsdon says:
"smart as an opossum"

It was probably very smart for a dinosaur, and, given that some birds are quite smart, and tool users, it is possible that given the opportunity, that it might have got smarter.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2012 11:51:08 AM PST
T. rex could play dead when threatened.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2012 3:10:59 PM PST
The Weasel says:
arpard fazakas says:
T. rex could play dead when threatened.
***
Which begs the question "What the heck threatens a T-Rex?"

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2012 3:26:28 PM PST
Irish Lace says:
"Which begs the question "What the heck threatens a T-Rex?" "

It's mother?

Posted on Nov 6, 2012 6:38:52 PM PST
New Caledonian crows (avian dinosaurs) are reckoned to be as smart as many primates

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2012 7:32:03 PM PST
Re OP: Dinosaurs, like all animals, have SOME intelligence, so your real question is "Why did they not develop more than they did?" Answer: it was not crucial to their survival and reproduction to do so. Even if they had developed more than they did, it is not at all clear that they would have survived the asteroid collision of 65 MYa -- surviving that appears more to having been in the right place at the time, and having sufficient adaptability to have been able to deal with the changing conditions.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2012 10:21:52 PM PST
Ehkzu says:
The dinosaurs' dominance occurred mostly during a period of tectonic stability, with nearly all the world's land mass gathered into one vast continent.

In stable, large-scale environments, specialization wins. Intelligence is an adaptation to circumstances changing too quickly for rigid specializations to work. Our intelligence evolved in just such circumstances. If the supercontinent had persisted, even with the Quicxulub (sp?) asteroid strike they would have come back in some way, because intelligence is too metabolically "expensive" for it to evolve except under great environmental duress--especially since that adaptation is remarkably dangerous to human females (before modern medicine).

Of course the dinosaurs are still with us, and some are remarkably intelligent--especially considering their small brain mass--especially the corvids and parrots. That intelligence evolved under stress; the only smart modern dinosaurs = birds are what are called opportunistic feeders--i.e. animals adapted to varied, unpredictable environments.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2012 11:38:15 PM PST
M. Helsdon says:
"Which begs the question "What the heck threatens a T-Rex?" "

Bigger meaner T-Rex. Apex predators rarely play nicely together, save for pack hunters like lions, wolves and... humans.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2012 4:19:21 AM PST
Re Helsdon, above: Don't forget disease processes. The battle between organisms and pathogens has been going on for a LONG time. It is amusing to speculate that the stress conditions from the Yucatan catastrophe 65 million years ago resulted in the evolution of something like the Ebola virus, and that this is what actually killed off the dinosaurs. (I doubt that we will ever know for sure.)

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2012 5:04:53 AM PST
An asteroid.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2012 7:35:58 AM PST
M. Helsdon says:
"It is amusing to speculate that the stress conditions from the Yucatan catastrophe 65 million years ago resulted in the evolution of something like the Ebola virus, and that this is what actually killed off the dinosaurs. (I doubt that we will ever know for sure.)"

Smoking killed the dinosaurs... 9-)

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2012 7:38:26 AM PST
Good point. Almost every dinosaur fossil area has fossilized ashtrays and cigarette butts.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2012 9:28:07 AM PST
"The dinosaurs' dominance occurred mostly during a period of tectonic stability, with nearly all the world's land mass gathered into one vast continent."

True of the Triassic, at the start of their radiation. Not true of the Cretaceous, when North America and Africa split from South America

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2012 11:30:39 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 7, 2012 11:36:34 AM PST
Bill M. says:
>>Which begs the question "What the heck threatens a T-Rex?"

Marc Bolan's driving.

(Yep, tasteless joke. For those who aren't into 1970s glam rock and don't get it, look him up.)

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2012 12:18:02 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 7, 2012 12:18:49 PM PST
freedom4all says:
Didn't they prefer Camel Lights?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2012 12:25:59 PM PST
"Camel Lights, the brand preferred by dinosaurs two to one".

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2012 1:46:03 PM PST
M. Helsdon says:
Surely 'Lucky Strike'?

Posted on Nov 7, 2012 5:35:33 PM PST
A. Caplan says:
Had dinosaurs not become extinct they may have developed intelligence. It was their demise that allowed the more adaptable mammals to evolve intelligence.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2012 8:25:45 PM PST
barbW says:
it sounds influential, but what are the factors? rapid climate swings? barriers to migration? disease concentrations? introduced predators?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 8, 2012 5:09:02 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 8, 2012 5:09:27 AM PST
noman says:
1) Dinos still around as birds (according to at least one theory)
2)Dinos still vastly more successful than Homo sap. in terms of diversity and longevity even disregarding dino/bird theory.
3) Assuming that "intelligence" is meant to be analogous with Homo sap. regarding points 1 and 2 above there is no reason to suppose that such "intelligence" provides any advantage since Homo sap. hasn't been around long enough.
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Discussion in:  Science forum
Participants:  45
Total posts:  274
Initial post:  Nov 5, 2012
Latest post:  Aug 16, 2013

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