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Why are we the only intelligent species?

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posted on Feb, 27 2011 @ 09:51 AM
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Originally posted by snowspirit
We have opposable thumbs and written language,
but intelligence is something I often question.


Just exactly how predictable was this comment?

I am questioning your intelligence too...

Just kidding actually, but the fact that smart creatures do stupid things does not detract from the argument that they are intelligent.

My dog eats garbage. My cat will often prefer to ignore the man/hand that feeds him. My wife...well, never mind...sometime she reads this forum.

Seriously though, there is no doubt that Man is by far the most intelligent animal on Earth (whether by design or evolutiuon). As a result, we try to mold our environment...which will naturally include some fairly negative things...to best advantage ourselves as individuals and as a species.

To ask why we are so far ahead of all other species in the intellect department is like asking why Giraffes are so far ahead in the long neck department...or the Bee is so far ahead in the impossible flying (while producing honey) department.

We just are...




posted on Feb, 27 2011 @ 10:37 AM
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A lot of people confuse technological achievement with intelligence... and to be sure, creating the technology humans have does take intelligence.

But the mistake is to assume that non-technological animals are not intelligent. Non-human animals have very different forms of intelligence than do humans, but it is a big mistake to assume they are not intelligent.

All the tests devised to test intelligence of non-human animals are designed by humans and are therefore by definition biased towards measuring intelligence along the lines humans value. And clearly non-humans are limited in those directions.

So I reject completely the notion that humans are drastically more intelligent than non-human animals. We are more technological and we have an unusually highly developed prey drive, but we are not drastically more intelligent than most higher-level non-human animals.



posted on Feb, 27 2011 @ 10:55 PM
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reply to post by Pimander
 


There is every chance that there have also been species in the past with cognitive abilities comparable to modern humans. The dinosaurs had 170 million years to evolve them.

No buildings or other structures? No artifacts? No technology?

I know it's been a long time, but surely something would have been left over for human archaeologists to find?



posted on Feb, 27 2011 @ 10:59 PM
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We're NOT the only intelligent species on Earth. It's actually sheer arrogance that makes us think so.

It's actually just that we're not intelligent ENOUGH to know how to interact with other highly intelligent species on this planet, such as dolphins. We have a huge brain that we only use a very small part of, and as such, we haven't even scratched the surface of our potential.



posted on Feb, 27 2011 @ 11:05 PM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
reply to post by Pimander
 


There is every chance that there have also been species in the past with cognitive abilities comparable to modern humans. The dinosaurs had 170 million years to evolve them.

No buildings or other structures? No artifacts? No technology?

I know it's been a long time, but surely something would have been left over for human archaeologists to find?


Actually, there is plenty of archaeological evidence that has been left behind. There are many anomalous items that are "out of time" and that modern archaeology, rather than try and explain, simply sweeps under the carpet.

After a few million years of techtonic movement, floodings, volcanoes, and other such earth changes, do you think much evidence of our civilization would be left? What makes you think evidence of much older civilizations than ours would be left behind after such a time?

A simple google search will provide links to multiple sites that refer to out of place artifacts.



posted on Feb, 27 2011 @ 11:08 PM
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reply to post by Turq1
 


I think it comes down to us having:
- Brains that is designed for complex problem solving, advanced communication and allowing us to pass down the skills we learn through generations.
- Hands with oposable thumbs that can manipulate just about any object - and a decent amount of strength to accompany them.
- A sense of self, this gives us will power which can unlock adrenaline and continues to make us strive on even in some of the most daunting circumstances.
- Adaptability: We can hunt, gather, scavange, swim, run, crawl, live in plains - deserts - snow - jungles



posted on Feb, 27 2011 @ 11:10 PM
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Originally posted by Open_Minded Skeptic
A lot of people confuse technological achievement with intelligence... and to be sure, creating the technology humans have does take intelligence.

But the mistake is to assume that non-technological animals are not intelligent. Non-human animals have very different forms of intelligence than do humans, but it is a big mistake to assume they are not intelligent.

All the tests devised to test intelligence of non-human animals are designed by humans and are therefore by definition biased towards measuring intelligence along the lines humans value. And clearly non-humans are limited in those directions.

So I reject completely the notion that humans are drastically more intelligent than non-human animals. We are more technological and we have an unusually highly developed prey drive, but we are not drastically more intelligent than most higher-level non-human animals.


We do are more intelligent that most higher level non human species, you can't develop tech without intelligence, you can see for example chimps, they are intelligent, but their technology is restricted to very primitive spears or the use of sticks and rocks, if we are not much more intelligent that them, why can't other species develop tech like us?

Our high tech is because we process much more information and use it better when needed, other species just can't process as much as we do and that makes them less intelligent.

Of course, you have reason about the test, but is very hard to say that simple math exercises, memory test are biased, why could not another species do math? or understand how to mach figures? how can that be human biased?



posted on Feb, 28 2011 @ 12:11 AM
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reply to post by babybunnies
 


Actually, there is plenty of archaeological evidence that has been left behind. There are many anomalous items that are "out of time" and that modern archaeology, rather than try and explain, simply sweeps under the carpet.

You mean all those hammers and spark plugs supposedly embedded in rocks? I've seen some of that, and none of it is terribly convincing. Besides, I don't think intelligent dinosaurs would make hammers and spark plugs just like ours, would they? There'd have to be some differences.


A simple google search will provide links to multiple sites that refer to out of place artifacts.

But most of those links are to hoaxes and crank sites.

Could you link us to a couple of OOParts you think are valid, and explain why you think they are? Just so that we know you're not being misled by hoaxers?

There are a lot of very gullible folk on ATS. You don't want to go believing everything they tell you.



posted on Feb, 28 2011 @ 06:20 AM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
reply to post by Pimander
 


There is every chance that there have also been species in the past with cognitive abilities comparable to modern humans. The dinosaurs had 170 million years to evolve them.

No buildings or other structures? No artifacts? No technology?

I know it's been a long time, but surely something would have been left over for human archaeologists to find?


I recommend reading the whole of the thread I linked to above. Here is one post from that thread.


Originally posted by Pimander

Originally posted by TrueBrit

Originally posted by Pimander

Could a Humanoid Dinosaur Survive The Mass Extinction?


What if we assume our hypothetical Anthroposaurus did exist. If the species were around for a little longer than modern humans, maybe they developed technology? After 65 million years it is highly unlikely that it would be recognisable, even if anything of it remained.


I cannot agree with you on this point. We find fossils because animals died and did not move, allowing deposits of sandstone and limestone and so on, to cover them and preserve them. Now bare in mind that these are mere mortal creatures, flesh and blood , just like mankind , and thier bones and even the markers of thier skin, survive even to this day, buried in obscure landscapes all over the world, waiting to be dug up. If an anthropomorphised dinosaur humanoid race had existed to the point where they had technology of any sort whatsoever, there would be evidence of this somewhere in archaeological record, since technological constructs are invariably more durable than the flesh of thier creators.



Originally posted by DragonFire1024
The proof is the fossil record we do have from that period. So it would also be likely that we would find (or have already and assuming my last statement, a cover-up) fossils of these bipeds.


Sorry guys, but you are wrong on this. Humans dispose of their bodies without allowing for fossilisation. So could dinosauroids.

In 65 million years what would there be of modern humans? Not a lot. There is practically no geological processes happening to human remains that will lead to them becoming fossilised. If there are examples they are extremely rare and would be incredibly rare in 65million years and probably not be discovered. Most fossilisation occurs in shallow water. That is exactly where human(oid) bodies are NOT disposed of.

As for evidence of the civilisation like archaeological remains such as technology or buildings - we are talking 65million years, not 6,500 (the older Egyptian). In 650,000 years there would be maybe a traces (and I mean traces) of stone materials which would be subject to erosion like everything else on Earth. 6.5 million years? Even less. Ten times that? There would be no corrodible metals or fibres. Most plastics would have been consumed by bacteria. Probably very few fossils as I said.

To repeat my statement earlier we are talking at least 10,000 times as long ago as First Dynasty ancient Egypt. The length of time since ancient Egypt ten thousand times.
edit on 23/2/11 by Pimander because: (no reason given)

edit on 23/2/11 by Pimander because: typo

www.abovetopsecret.com...



posted on Feb, 28 2011 @ 07:17 AM
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Originally posted by MonteroReal
We do are more intelligent that most higher level non human species, you can't develop tech without intelligence, you can see for example chimps, they are intelligent, but their technology is restricted to very primitive spears or the use of sticks and rocks, if we are not much more intelligent that them, why can't other species develop tech like us?

Yes, absolutely agreed, that intelligence is necessary to develop much in the way of technology.

But my argument is that not developing advanced technology is not an indication of lesser intelligence.



Our high tech is because we process much more information and use it better when needed, other species just can't process as much as we do and that makes them less intelligent.

Is it? Or is our high tech a result of the nature of the information we process, and the way in which our brains do it?



Of course, you have reason about the test, but is very hard to say that simple math exercises, memory test are biased, why could not another species do math? or understand how to mach figures? how can that be human biased?

I think even simple math tests are human biased because math is a human invention, and for all we know has absolutely zero relevance to other species, especially non-technological species.

So when we test dogs, for example, and ask them to remember and match shapes, or we test chimps and ask them to add 1 + 1, we are asking them to do things that are of relevance to humans (visual pattern matching, arithmatic), but may not be much relevance to them, so is therefore difficult.

An intelligence test designed by a dog might be to identify all the individual ingredients in pizza sauce (although they probably wouldn't call it pizza sauce...
) by smell.

To a dog, because of the way their smellers work, this is a pretty easy task... similar to a human matching a square with a square, or adding 1 + 1. So a dog taking this test would be able to easily identify the various ingredients to pizza sauce.

A human taking that test, however, would struggle... "Well, I think I smell oregano in there, maybe some thyme" and so on. Even professional chefs struggle with these kinds of tasks.

So on this scale or test, humans are not as smart as dogs. Dogs clearly take in and process much more information, and process it more effectively, than human brains are capable of doing, so dogs are smarter.

I think the same bias applies to all human-designed intelligence tests.

In the interest of full disclosure, I used to share the opinion that humans are substantially smarter than other animals. But I've had the privilege of living very closely with and observing animals, dogs in particular, for the last several years, and that has afforded me a wonderful opportunity to become aware of other, non-human thought processes. And that has changed my opinion as regards relative intelligence of humans and other animals.

Humans and other animals very definitely have different intelligence; I'm just not so sure the label "more" or "less" applies as much as humans like to believe.

Edit to change "oregano" to the human spelling... Dogs use the "oragano" form...

edit on 28-2-2011 by Open_Minded Skeptic because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 28 2011 @ 07:29 AM
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reply to post by Pimander
 

Oh yes, I read that earlier. It's not good enough.

Imagine Earth after we have left it. Here are a few things archaeologists of some future race could expect to find: dressed stone, cut diamonds and other gemstones, various objects made of gold and other noble metals, such as jewellery and electronic components, and an incredible amount of powdered glass and iron rust.

We don't see any of that.

Anyway, the reason why we're the only intelligent species is that there is no room for two such on a planet. Madnessinmysoul explained earlier that evolution selects for survival, not intelligence. You are, I am sure, familiar with the concept of evolutionary niches, which species often compete to occupy. 'Intelligent species' looks like a pretty exclusive niche to me. Like the Highlander, there can be only one.

Consider that an intelligent, technological species will eventually occupy all environments (as man has done) and want to corner all the resources available. If there are two such species on the same planet, they must fight till one is eliminated. It is perhaps a blessing that the conflict, on Earth, took place at a time when the competitors, all members of the same biological genus, were relatively few in number and their technological abilities still primitive. Then again, that is probably how it had to be; the showdown must have been bound to take place sooner rather than later.

As to those who say dolphins, crows, chimps, etc. are intelligent, I say they may well be, but they are not as intelligent as you or I.



posted on Feb, 28 2011 @ 08:48 AM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
As to those who say dolphins, crows, chimps, etc. are intelligent, I say they may well be, but they are not as intelligent as you or I.


But what do you say to the charge that humans have devised the intelligence tests, so of course we appear to be more intelligent than other animals?

What is your response to OMS's post just previous to your last one?

I only ask you about his posts, because I agree completely with him and I'm too lazy to type it all out again.


Sure, we have made incredible technological advances, but aren't we destroying our own species with those very advances? How intelligent is that? People seem to be confusing technology with intelligence and that is my issue with this discussion.



posted on Feb, 28 2011 @ 09:05 AM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
Imagine Earth after we have left it. Here are a few things archaeologists of some future race could expect to find: dressed stone, cut diamonds and other gemstones, various objects made of gold and other noble metals, such as jewellery and electronic components, and an incredible amount of powdered glass and iron rust.

We don't see any of that.

No we don't see much, that is correct. There are rumours of suppressed evidence though. I have no definite view one way or the other as to the veracity of those claims.

However, an ancient race may have had technology that would not be preserved. It is very anthropocentric to assume that all technology would be like ours. Another intelligent race may not have had technology like ours.


Originally posted by Astyanax
Anyway, the reason why we're the only intelligent species is that there is no room for two such on a planet. Madnessinmysoul explained earlier that evolution selects for survival, not intelligence. You are, I am sure, familiar with the concept of evolutionary niches, which species often compete to occupy. 'Intelligent species' looks like a pretty exclusive niche to me. Like the Highlander, there can be only one.

Agreed. My theory is that if a more ancient intelligent species existed, it is either extinct, has left the planet or moved underground and therefore does not occupy the same niche as modern humans.

Also convergent evolution does allow for similar species to occupy similar niches. An example I have given is some dolphins, which evolved from a dog like ancestor, share similar (though not identical) niches to some sharks, which evolved from a fish. The similarity of their niches mean they share many characteristics. Maybe there could be room for 2 intelligent species to occupy similar or neighbouring niches - we just can't be sure.



posted on Feb, 28 2011 @ 11:13 AM
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reply to post by Benevolent Heretic
 


But what do you say to the charge that humans have devised the intelligence tests, so of course we appear to be more intelligent than other animals?

I say that it might be a valid criticism if there were an intelligent third-party arbitrator to judge it. In the absence of such an arbiter, I should say that the best example of intelligence available to us is our own, and it is quite legitimate to use it as a yardstick to measure the intelligence of other species, so long as we use it... intelligently.


Sure, we have made incredible technological advances, but aren't we destroying our own species with those very advances? How intelligent is that?

In this, we are the same as any other sort of animal, and I fear we shall never be any different. Give any species effectively unlimited resources and/or a dearth of natural predators and it will multiply until it destroys its own environment. We see the same happen with everything from plague bacilli to Nile perch to cute little bunny rabbits. The instinct to survive and produce offspring is basic to all life and is far stronger than mere intelligence. It drives us to do selfish and desperate things; and as the world grows more crowded as resources scarcer, it will drive us all the harder.

It is over-sentimental, I think, as well as rather ill-informed, to regard putatively intelligent but technologically incompetent animals as somehow wiser or more spiritually advanced than humans. Dolphins, for instance; some people would have you believe their failure to invent the wheel or the reality TV show is evidence of some renunciatory, ascetic delphinian wisdom; yet the truth about dolphins is simply that they live in water and have flippers, two circumstances that make the acquisition of any kind of technology well-nigh impossible.

And what about our famously intelligent cousins, the chimpanzees? Clever little chaps indeed, but they don't quite match up humans in the brain department, do they? And they do use the odd bit of technology here and there, digging sticks and the like, so it isn't as if they've stuck with swinging from trees out of some spiritual affinity or carefully-adopted lifestyle choice. They'd be us if they could be, chimps; you can see it from the way they look at us. You must have felt it when you pass the chimp cage at the zoo, the envy, the yearning. Personally, I always cringe and hurry onward, unable to bear the pressure of those lusting, accusing eyes...

Crows? Parrots? Come on. The big news isn't that they are as intelligent as we are but that they aren't quite as dumb as we thought.



posted on Feb, 28 2011 @ 11:30 AM
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reply to post by Pimander
 


No we don't see much, that is correct.

Uh-huh :shk:

We don't see any. Of what I said.


It is very anthropocentric to assume that all technology would be like ours. Another intelligent race may not have had technology like ours.

It is not anthropocentric to assume that a terrestrial species would use materials found on Earth. Besides, technology is applied physics; they would have mastered such things as fire and electronics simply because they are there for all intelligent beings to master. We would be able to recognize technology, no matter how odd it looked to us as human beings.


Also convergent evolution does allow for similar species to occupy similar niches.

Not in the same geographical location, they don't. And the range of a technological species will ultimately be worldwide.


Dolphins, which evolved from a dog like ancestor, share similar (though not identical) niches to some sharks, which evolved from a fish.

I believe dolphins and sharks stay away from each other in the wild, though about a third of adult dolphins show shark bite scars (I googled
). Luckily, there's plenty of fish in the sea. Or there used to be.



posted on Feb, 28 2011 @ 11:44 AM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
I should say that the best example of intelligence available to us is our own, and it is quite legitimate to use it as a yardstick to measure the intelligence of other species, so long as we use it... intelligently.


It's only legitimate if we specify that we are looking ONLY at HUMAN intelligence. When we test other species, we are testing to see how much HUMAN intelligence they possess. That's all.

Human intelligence makes the tests, which test for human intelligence. Only humans would say that our tests are legitimate. I suspect dogs, if they shared the human intelligence we search for in them, and were able to evaluate our "intelligence tests", would think our tests quite incomplete, narrow in scope and irrelevant in discerning "intelligence".

It seems that you still don't 'get' the idea that all we can test is human intelligence and that is not relevant to other species of animals. ONLY if they could write their own tests could we make any sort of comparison, and perhaps not even then.



And what about our famously intelligent cousins, the chimpanzees? Clever little chaps indeed, but they don't quite match up humans in the brain department, do they? And they do use the odd bit of technology here and there, digging sticks and the like, so it isn't as if they've stuck with swinging from trees out of some spiritual affinity or carefully-adopted lifestyle choice.


You are using the ideas of intelligence and technology almost interchangeably, as if the level of technological advancement of a species is the indicator of intelligence.



They'd be us if they could be, chimps; you can see it from the way they look at us.


What? That's anthropomorphizing to the extreme! Truth is, we don't know what they're thinking and it's arrogant to think we do!



You must have felt it when you pass the chimp cage at the zoo, the envy, the yearning.


Not in the least! If I were to anthropomorphize, I think they're thinking, "Don't these people have anything better to do than to watch me"?



posted on Feb, 28 2011 @ 02:03 PM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
You mean all those hammers and spark plugs supposedly embedded in rocks? I've seen some of that, and none of it is terribly convincing. Besides, I don't think intelligent dinosaurs would make hammers and spark plugs just like ours, would they? There'd have to be some differences.


In fact there are some differences.


The puzzled rock hunters sent their find to the Charles Fort Society, who specialize in investigating things out of the ordinary. The Society made an X-ray examination of the cylinder object enclosed in the fossil-encrusted rock, and found further evidence that it was indeed some form of mechanical apparatus. The X-rays revealed that the metallic shaft was corroded at one end, but on the other end terminated in what appeared to be a spring or helix of metal. As a whole, the 'Coso artifact' is now believed to be something more than a piece of machinery: The carefully shaped ceramic, metallic shaft and copper components hint at some form of electrical instrument. The closest modern apparatus that researchers have been able to equate it with is a spark plug. However, there are certain features - particularly the spring or helix terminal - that does not correspond to any known spark plug today. The rock in which the electrical instrument was found was dated by a competent geologist at 500,000 years old.
Emphasis Pimander's Source: www.pureinsight.org...




The picture confirms that, despite having similarities, the artefact is in fact not exactly like a spark plug at all. There clearly are some differences to a modern spark plug.


Originally posted by Astyanax
We don't see any. Of what I said.

Or do we? The following images are of objects found in Cretaceous rock. They are over 65 million years old - from dinosaur times. They look remarkably like technological artefacts. Could geologists be wrong about what they are?


Source of images: Concretions of the Tibooburra area.



Originally posted by Astyanax

Also convergent evolution does allow for similar species to occupy similar niches.

Not in the same geographical location, they don't. And the range of a technological species will ultimately be worldwide.
(snip)
I believe dolphins and sharks stay away from each other in the wild, though about a third of adult dolphins show shark bite scars (I googled
). Luckily, there's plenty of fish in the sea. Or there used to be.

Are you serious? You claim that they can't live in the same geographical location and then contradict yourself. To bite a dolphin a shark has to be in the same geographical location.



Originally posted by Astyanax
There are a lot of very gullible folk on ATS. You don't want to go believing everything they tell you.

You don't want to go believing everything Astyanax tells you on this evidence.


Sorry Asynyanax, I couldn't resist that. I hope you can see the funny side

edit on 28/2/11 by Pimander because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 28 2011 @ 02:41 PM
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Homo floresiensis



It remains one of the greatest human fossil discoveries of all time. The bones of a race of tiny primitive people, who used stone tools to hunt pony-sized elephants and battle huge Komodo dragons, were discovered on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2004.
www.guardian.co.uk...




So here is your relatively intelligent being. Homo foresiensis was also a contemporary of Homo Sapiens or modern man.


H. floresiensis...hung on in Flores until about 17,000 years ago. This latter figure is staggeringly close in terms of recent human evolution and indicates that long after the Neanderthals, our closest evolutionary relatives, had disappeared from the face of the Earth around 35,000 years ago, these tiny, distant relatives of Homo sapiens were still living on remote Flores.
www.guardian.co.uk...



posted on Feb, 28 2011 @ 02:59 PM
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Originally posted by Turq1
Oh come on, a monkey that has been trained to do one thing, and excels at it (shockingly), is supposed to be an example of how monkeys are close to us as far overall achievement? Do you know what the monkey's motivation is? A cookie. That's intelligence right there. What makes us human isn't about performing well in a niche game...

edit on 25-2-2011 by Turq1 because: (no reason given)


I wanted to address this part of you statement directly. Separate from the original topic. You say the monkey's motivation is a cookie. What is our motivation for developing intelligence? Isn't it also food, shelter, and security? Of course I could be wrong, but I go to work, to school, and develop skills so that I can better care for myself and my family.

And to the OP. Excellent topic for discussion although I can not agree that humans are the only intelligent species. Of course people have mentioned dolphins, monkeys and other primates, and elephants. A recent I believe NatGeo special (a year ago?) talked about animal cultures. The same animals, in different areas, have different habits that they were taught by others in their group. 2 examples come to mind.

1: A certain primate: This particular group of primates have learned that a specific nut or fruit is very delicious. To get to the food the animal must pick the food and allow it to dry for several days. After which the shell can be crushed. Not just any rocks can be used to crack the hard shells. This fruit/nut has to be placed on a specific fairly flat rock and then hit with a different type of rock to get to the goodies on the inside.

2: Another group of small primates: These primates love a certain food that is found on the beach near their homes. The problem is that this food is covered and sand and very gritty. Who wants to eat sand? Some time ago, since these primates have been being observed by humans, a more intelligent female primate took her food down to the water's edge and washed it off before eating it. She then taught more in her group to do the same.

3: Dolphins: And who could forget the amazing footage of the dolphins playing with bubbles posted here on ATS? www.abovetopsecret.com...

Sorry I could not find the specific show about Animal Culture but here is what wikipedia has to say about it.
en.wikipedia.org...



posted on Feb, 28 2011 @ 03:39 PM
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No intelligent species would have destroyed Oxygen faster than their Biosphere produces it.

The SR-71 alone sucked up Earth's entire atmosphere with it's engines during it's years of use. Burning oxygen and increasing CO2 levels. We thought it was progress and novel. Find out the cubic feet of air that passed thru the SR-71's engines during years of use...yer gonna find it matched Earth's entire atmosphere.

Was that intelligent? Many would argue it was. No real intelligent species would label that an intelligent operation.

We destroyed our own planet/Biosphere. That's not intelligence.

Why is there no scientific study showing Earth's total Oxygen production? It would necessitate intelligent action.

Culling Earth's infestation.



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