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Monday, February 25, 2013

Dumb animals and other myths

Raven on Salt Spring Island
Seals at Entrance Island. Photo by Brie McInnes

Black-tailed deer eating our plum tree

Are these animals dumb? Nope. Anyone who has paid close attention to animals in the wild will attest to their intelligence, and so will scientists who study animal IQ. This short article highlights the intelligence of just eight animal species ( but I'm confident that eventually the intelligence of every single species on the planet will be documented.

One scientist, though, has just released a study that suggests that we humans are getting dumber and dumber. "Dr. Gerald Crabtree, a geneticist at Stanford, has published a study that he conducted to try and identify the progression of modern man’s intelligence. As it turns out, however, Dr. Crabtree’s research led him to believe that the collective mind of mankind has been on more or a less a downhill trajectory for quite some time." ( Oh oh.

Crabtree posits that humans were at their most intelligent when “every individual was exposed to nature’s raw selective mechanisms on a daily basis". Today, when those of us living in 'First World' countries buy our food in the supermarket and rely on mechanical devices to complete our daily tasks and electronic ones to be our memories and to do our problem-solving, there's little opportunity for exposure to 'nature's raw selective mechanisms'. Read the article about the study here:

So ...  humans are getting dumber. Are animals, I wonder, getting smarter? Will the two trajectories cross paths at some point? Then what?


Eileen said...

Hmmm. Peak oil - Peak intelligence. Inverse relationship??!

The Island Book Shoppe said...

Could very well be. Would explain a lot.