animal intelligence and evolutionary pressure

what are the evolutionary pressures that result in some animals developing heightened intelligence compared to their relatives? for some, it makes sense, as when you have a body plan that allows for complex manipulation and tool use, then naturally growing a bigger brain will allow you to do more things without investing more in your body. this explains things like primates, elephants and octopi. But what about whales? i don't really see why it is that whales would need to be seemingly so much smarter than the hoofed animals they derived from, or than equivalent land mammals in comparable niches (e.g. dolphins vs lions). Or corvids? why are they on the whole so much smarter and more cunning than other generalist birds, while having basically the same body plan and lifestyle?
I know there probably arent concrete answers to this but its interesting to think about

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  1. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    evolutionary pressures don't cause higher intelligence. Higher intelligence happens by chance and then selective pressures determine whether it pays off or not.

    The same is true of lower intelligence. Dumber than normal creatures are born all the time as well, and selective pressures decide if they reproduce or not.

    Generally speaking in nature dumber animals are going to be selected against in most situations, while smarter animals are either neutral or have an advantage. So over time all animals should tend to become more intelligent the longer the lineage persists.

    This was formulated as an evolutionary rule. You might be familiar with Cope's Rule that animals tend to become larger over time. You probably aren't aware that his rival Marsh also stated a similar rule, that animals tend to become more intelligent over time. Both are generally true except when they aren't.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Cope's Rule is controversial and gay. It's based on empty niches being filled after de dinosaur extinction.

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        thanks for that popsci take. The rule is generally true, whatever the reason. So is Marsh's rule. Which you don't call controversial or gay because you've never heard of it. It's not a popsci topic.

        • 3 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          popscientistsayswhat

        • 3 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          Cope's rule is pop-sci
          >However, many palaeobiologists are skeptical of the validity of Cope's rule, which may merely represent a statistical artefact.[3][16] Purported examples of Cope's rule often assume that the stratigraphic age of fossils is proportional to their "clade rank", a measure of how derived they are from an ancestral state; this relationship is in fact quite weak.[17] Counterexamples to Cope's rule are common throughout geological time; although size increase does occur more often than not, it is by no means universal. For example, among genera of Cretaceous molluscs, an increase in size is no more common than stasis or a decrease.[15] In many cases, Cope's rule only operates at certain taxonomic levels (for example, an order may obey Cope's rule, while its constituent families do not), or more generally, it may apply to only some clades of a taxon.

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            I was talking about Marsh's rule. But since you know nothing about that you can only complain about Cope.

            • 3 weeks ago
              Anonymous

              I know, I wasn't criticizing your comment in general, I just have a hate boner against cope's cope and seize every opportunity to shit on it.

              • 3 weeks ago
                Anonymous

                the problem with your popsci takes is that you haven't read Cope so you don't know why he stated the rule, or that he addressed your complaints when he stated it. You're just rehashing modern criticisms of Cope without reading what he actually said. There's no depth or curiosity to your shitting, you're just shitting for the sake of it. Anyone that's read Cope is going to smile and ignore you just like we smile and ignore people that criticize Darwin without reading his words.

                Marsh's rule suffers from the same weaknesses as Cope, it's not universal and it's probably an artifact of a larger process rather than some innate feature of biological life. But both remain generally true whether you criticize them or not. Animals do tend to become larger over evolutionary time, and they do tend to become smarter. There are obvious exceptions to these two rules, but both authors discuss those exceptions and a curious mind would at least read what they have to say while an npc would just crap on it because that's popular at the moment.

              • 3 weeks ago
                Anonymous

                >because that's popular at the moment
                I wasn't aware of this trend. You must really love Cope's rule if you track its popularity. Good for you, have a nice day.

              • 3 weeks ago
                Anonymous

                You don't actually have to be aware of what the crowd is doing to mindlessly go along with it.
                It actually helps if you don't know.

              • 3 weeks ago
                Anonymous

                You're good at creating narratives in your head. There is no "crowd", just individuals with differing opinions. Anyone who cares at all is significantly more autistic than the average person. There is nothing subconscious going on. There is confirmation bias going on in me, but I'm aware of that. About a year ago I had this online encounter with a really pedantic guy who kept going on about Cope's rule, and I still haven't read good arguments in favor of it.
                So how does Cope explain insular dwarfism?
                >uhm read Cope
                No, I can't be bothered and there are other books I'd like to read first. It would take less time for you to explain it than it would take me to read an entire book.

              • 3 weeks ago
                Anonymous

                >About a year ago I had this online encounter with a really pedantic guy who kept going on about Cope's rule,
                How many years have you wasted here not learning things?
                >It would take less time for you to explain it than it would take me to read an entire book.
                I've explained it three times now. If you don't understand me dumbing it down for you, reading the original text is well beyond your abilities.

                That's a conditional sentence in english. Something you cannot understand.

  2. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    >than equivalent land mammals in comparable niches (e.g. dolphins vs lions).
    I forgot about this comparison when I wrote about dolphins. I think the difference is the level of complexity. Lions rely on stealth, speed and power. They focus on a single target that moves on a two dimensional plane. Lions are still the most intelligent cats, probably due to their social behavior.

  3. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Competition for food in the absence of uncontrollable mortality (predators, parasites) selects for higher intelligence. K-selected species.

    Cold climates are known to produce smarter populations.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      >Cold climates are known to produce smarter populations.
      do you have any evidence for this? not arguing bbut ive not heard it before. like do we know if wolves are smarter than african painted dogs for instance? or snow leopards smarter than leopards in india?

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        I haven't really looked into it, but I think he's talking about the cold winters theory which explains that higher intelligence in different human populations was caused by their adaptation to harsh cold climates during the ice-age.

        • 3 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          yeah that does kind of make sense, that dramatic seasonal changes would require problem solving and adaptability compared to just the same weather all year round

        • 3 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          yeah that does kind of make sense, that dramatic seasonal changes would require problem solving and adaptability compared to just the same weather all year round

          >Cold climates are known to produce smarter populations.
          do you have any evidence for this? not arguing bbut ive not heard it before. like do we know if wolves are smarter than african painted dogs for instance? or snow leopards smarter than leopards in india?

          i dont think that would affect cats as much as humans, you have to understand the winter is death, africa literally has food everywhere, but as you go farther up north, you need to start planning and stockpiling, stockpiling leads to farming, farming leads to domestication of beasts of burden and that jump starts civilizations, but this is counterintuitive because intelligence is calorie intensive, which you dont really want to be using what scares resources on wanton thoughts, especially as warm blooded creature that doesnt hibernate
          but nobody wants to talk about this because its racist, which is kinda true, considering that aztecs did some smart things, like building floating farms, they just didnt have any hard metals to use, india didnt have this problem, china is relatively temperate and food is everywhere, farming rice paddies, its just africa seems to have a problem

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Caloric views of intelligence are dumb since agriculture resulted in smaller body size, smaller brain size, fewer calories consumed, and greater intelligence.

            dumb people consume just as many calories as smart ones, thinking doesn't increase caloric use unless the brain is physically larger. A dumb person and a smart person use exactly the same number of calories, just with very different results.

            • 3 weeks ago
              Anonymous

              thats because people kept eating plants instead of meat, incase you didnt know this, you need a lot of animal proteins if you want to be big and strong, vegetables arent going to cut it

              • 3 weeks ago
                Anonymous

                doesn't matter why, it only matters that we apparently became more intelligent while also decreasing our caloric intake. So calorie conservation isn't a great hypothesis for the evolution of intelligence. We did the opposite of what was suggested. Less calories and higher intelligence.

              • 3 weeks ago
                Anonymous

                no, we just leeched nutrients from the rest of our body

  4. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Complex "3D" environments seems to be a factor. Birds, whales, cephalopods, and primates all live in environments which require the animal to navigate up, down, left, right, forwards, and backwards rapidly. Most of these animals also utilize vision as their primary means of perceiving the world with whales being the exception using echolocation instead.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      this
      most of the brainpower in cetaceans goes to echolocation and movement, not to actual thoughts

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        that may be true, but nonetheless, they do have more complex social interactions and communication than 99.9% of vertebrates

        Also (generalist) vision. Being able to perceive new threats, see the environment in different ways, basically just plainly receiving more information, pushes species to have a more generalist intelligence. I don't think there is not even one comparitively smart animal that doesn't have *something* to perceive the world in more than just chemical and tactile stimuli

        Also I'd like to point that all these animals have complex communication abilities. Cetaceans have huge auditory bulbs and crows have the most complex vocalizations of any bird. Perhaps theres a chicken and egg problem here but I think with the randomness of evolution theres a possibility species get set down this path rather are destined to.

        yeah i think this is a bit chicken and egg. cos who's to say they developed perception or communication as a result of having big brains, or if they developed big brains as a consequence of needing to communicate or perceive in more detail? i dont have an answer

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        What's the point of dolphins wanting to frick everything they see and get high off of pufferfish then?

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Also (generalist) vision. Being able to perceive new threats, see the environment in different ways, basically just plainly receiving more information, pushes species to have a more generalist intelligence. I don't think there is not even one comparitively smart animal that doesn't have *something* to perceive the world in more than just chemical and tactile stimuli

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Also I'd like to point that all these animals have complex communication abilities. Cetaceans have huge auditory bulbs and crows have the most complex vocalizations of any bird. Perhaps theres a chicken and egg problem here but I think with the randomness of evolution theres a possibility species get set down this path rather are destined to.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Explain hummingbirds, they don't seems particularly smart, yet are masters of 3D movement

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Dolphins need it for this:

      I don't know much about whales but I guess it's because they're massive so they might as well use those huge skulls and the excess calories entering their massive mouths.
      Corvids are omnivores and communicate with each other. Living alongside humans could also be a factor, as demonstrated by urban raccoons.

      But bats are moronic

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        >Dolphins need it for this:
        you're putting the cart before the horse there. the dolphins evolved to be smart, then developed new strategies as a result. animals don't invent new hunting manoeuvers that they're not capable of and then evolve bigger and bigger brains until they can run the software

        • 3 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          I know. The vast majority of dolphins don't do it at all. Don't take it too seriously. Truth remains that dolphins evolved their intelligence for coordinated group hunting.

  5. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Are you the same guy who made the other animal intelligence thread

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      no, the only thead i've made here in the last few months is coolest animal

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