Prey & Predator Intelligence Potential

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by PsychoticEpisode, Dec 27, 2008.

  1. PsychoticEpisode It is very dry in here today Valued Senior Member

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    Does it take more intelligence to outwit prey or predator?

    I was looking at a chameleon the other day and I got to wondering if the animal needs more intelligence to avoid a predator or to capture prey. Simply blending in with the background seems to be something instinctual to avoid a predator when at rest for instance, but when stalking prey can it consciously control its color scheme?

    Maybe a chameleon is a bad example of what I'm trying to say. Some animals are born with natural camouflage, something nature has evolved for them, and it seems like little intelligence is involved there. Now a predator seems more inclined to use their cunning, having to surprise an otherwise alert prey.

    Does hunting promote the evolving of intelligence or does avoiding a predator perform the same function?
     
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  3. vslayer Registered Senior Member

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    both support it. if a deer has the intelligence to outwit a lion then it lives while the other deer get eaten. if a lion uses its intelligence to outwit a deer, then it gets to eat, while the other lions starve.

    the slow and the stupid are constantly being removed from the genepool in every species except ours
     
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  5. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    I've heard zoologists say (and I have no idea if this is a consensus) that strength, stamina, agility, eyesight and quiet motion are far more important to a predator than intelligence. Pack hunting requires planning, cooperation and coordination, and maybe pack hunters like wolves and lions are brighter than solitary hunters like foxes and leopards.

    But in my observation, it's the opportunistic feeders, the animals with the digestion and agility to permit a variety of feeding strategies such as hunting, gathering, fishing, scavenging and stealing, who have the highest intelligence. Look at bears, raccoons, crows and jays, animals who routinely outwit even humans, and they can all eat practically anything.

    Being able to choose from a variety of food sources rewards intelligence, because you can choose the one in your particular location that is most abundant, easiest, and least risky. The spread of human habitation has tremendously rewarded these animals. Omnivorous coyotes, raccoons, crows and parrots are not only all over the fringe of civilization, but well established inside it.

    I've also suggested before that a three-dimensional environment selects for higher intelligence. Not just the instinctive kinematic calculations needed for movement, but the geometrically larger number of conscious choices that face the animal at every juncture. Arboreal and aquatic mammals, who see the universe as three dimensions of opportunity and risk, are generally more intelligent than the rest of us who crawl about on the earth's two-dimensional surface and never have to look very far up or down.

    In fact, the "aquatic ape hypothesis" has been formulated as an explanation for how we developed so much higher intelligence than the other apes--even though we paradoxically descended to the flat surface. It's suggested that rather than initially striding out across the savannah, we first went into the nearest lake. Warm-blooded air-breathing animals absolutely rule in the water, so the pickings were easy, and as we spent more time there our intelligence was challenged by the need to think and move in three dimensions. We're still the only apes who are naturally buoyant and the only ones with those vestigial webs between our fingers. And of course we are the brightest of the bunch.
     
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  7. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Omnivory selects for intelligence, social grouping and large baby repro select for intelligence, habitat variability (especially in high quality food) selects for intelligence, size and longevity select for intelligence, ability to manipulate the environment selects for intelligence.

    You're looking for a pack living omnivore forced to adapt to a transition zone between quite different ecosystems each offering scattered bonanzas of high quality food, weighing at least thirty pounds, with a large baby- long life repro strategy and the physical ability to manipulate features of its environment. Intelligence would be very strongly selected for in such an animal.
     
  8. PsychoticEpisode It is very dry in here today Valued Senior Member

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    I was thinking that acquiring camouflage does not require smarts. Evolution sorts that out. So does prey have more of a tendency to rely on evolved protection than a predator?
    You often hear of a fox as cunning but a mouse? Are all animals cunning, particularly prey?
     
  9. Roman Banned Banned

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    I think you'd have to define "intelligence" here, but if you mean basic problem solving, then you'll *probably* see greater intelligence in the predators.

    Most herbivores search for stationary points in essentially two dimensional space. They walk around looking for food, and if a predator shows up, they flee or roll up in a ball or whatever. Predators, on the other hand, have to work in three dimensions, as their food source is moving about, which adds an additional dimension. They need abilities to determine where things are going to be, not just where they are.

    There are notable exceptions- largely sociality. Social animals tend to be better at problem solving than non-social ones, presumably because a large portion of the brain must be developed to navigate social space, remember individuals, etc. Elephants and whales, for instance, are both herbivorous (whales are technically predators, but they're feeding habits is more akin to grazing than hunting), both of which are incredibly intelligent and suffer little natural predation. This is likely due to being social. Sharks, on the other hand, are extremely successful predators, yet are very dumb.

    Omnivores that aren't social are also smart, comparatively. I believe this is because if you have the ability to eat a lot of things, you also need the ability to find a lot of different things to eat. Curiousity gets rewarded. The number of food items, and the ways to get them, increases dramatically when you have to start rolling over logs, climbing trees, catching small animals, and following other animals to steal their feed. In a changing environment, the ability to adapt is crucial, especially when you're a non-specialist. In a bad nut year, even the squirrels are going to have trouble getting nuts,so if you're a jay, you're going to have to figure out how to get other food types, since you lack the adaptations a squirrel has to get into the toughest of nuts.
     
  10. TimeTraveler Immortalist Registered Senior Member

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    Evolutionary intelligence would mean that chameleons through mating habits were more intelligent in the long term. On the individual level it's about using what you've got to defeat what you are up against.
     
  11. TimeTraveler Immortalist Registered Senior Member

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    You only say that because you are a predator. I'd say predators are no more intelligent than the prey because predators base their entire existence on the prey to the point where they rely on the prey to survive themselves.

    Truly intelligent animals can survive with or without prey.
     
  12. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    How does a carnivore survive without prey?
     
  13. Roman Banned Banned

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    Um, as I said, it depends on how you define intelligence. And as I pointed out, but because you failed to read past the first two lines, the smartest animals on earth are social, regardless of their diet.

    You also get problems of comparing- most predators are bigger than their prey, so if they have proportionately sized brains, will be smarter than their prey just by the fact that it's easier to kill something smaller than you. We also have problems, though to a lesser degree, of comparing warm blooded mammals with cold blooded ones, or of invertebrates, where they are little more than little machines.

    And lastly, your supposition that hints at intelligence being based on life history, as if a predator has some sort of conscious decision over the enzyme in its stomach or the canines in its mouth, is absurd. Judging by that post, you're probably a whack job and I'm wasting my time responding to you.
     
  14. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    I'd think about the same. They both have instincts that keep them alive and use them to do so. Humans though screw everything up with their sport hunting ways.
     
  15. Roman Banned Banned

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    Sport hunting is what will save the animals.
     
  16. Enmos Staff Member

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    Are you in favor of that method or do you prefer something else ?
     
  17. Roman Banned Banned

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    Ideally everyone would die, but that's not going to happen soon, so only by putting economic worth on animals & their habitat will it be preserved. Even conservationists with their heads in their asses know that the real threat to most animal populations is habitat loss, not hunting.
     
  18. TimeTraveler Immortalist Registered Senior Member

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    Thats what I said. It's not as conscious and it doesn't have the ability to make a conscious decision over the enzymes in it stomach. This is why it's less intelligent than other animals that can. Apes for example are able to do this, as are rats. You have a range of lifeforms that will eat meat if meat is available, but will also go vegetarian if no prey is available. Bears are another example.
     
  19. TimeTraveler Immortalist Registered Senior Member

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    Exactly. Omnivores are more intelligent than carnivores.
     
  20. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    have you ever seen a cow, a turkey, a chicken, a sheep?

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    Not smarter than a coyote, a wolf, a bear, etc.
     
  21. TimeTraveler Immortalist Registered Senior Member

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    Pigs are damn smart, ugly, and I wont eat them, but they are smart. And Bears are omnivores.
     
  22. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    ah yep, my mistake. I was thinking herbivores.

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    <how embarrassing!>
     
  23. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    They look rather "cute" to me!


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