posted on May, 8 2006 @ 09:49 AM
You have to consider that man evolved from stupid little monkeys, that, if you had looked at the world, might not be the sort of thing you'd mark for
greatness. Primates have 'bigger brains', but only because they were originally noctural and also needed to clamber about tree-limbs (a complex
environment), so their sight processing centers were more developed.
When man was on the ground, and had his hands free from locomotion, he was able to use them to make tools. Tools meant more effective hunting, more
food, and thus any human with a slightly more developed brain could benefit, by getting even more food, and also by having enough calories to support
the 'expensive' brain.
So its dificult to predict. Apes use tools, even if its just a stick to prod a tree for termites with. Some birds also make use of tools on a roughly
similar level. So I'd think that you'd need that first. The octopus has well developed sight, and thus a larger brain than expected (they even have
'giant' axons, enourmous nerve cells (doens't make them smarter though)), and I recall that they are 'smart' enough to unscrew a jar lid to get
at food inside.
Then again, dolphins and whales have large brains, in part because of their use of echolocation, which requires a lot of processing power. Difficult
to see how they'd be able to make use of tools though.