Sorry, it is hard for me to copy and paste quotes text on my phone. So my responses will not look as pretty, or well laid out.
Originally Posted by UFO-Hunter
As I have said in other posts. The more we learn about animals on this planet, the less impressive we are as humans... the less special we seem to be... the less unique we seem to be.
This is very true, I think. As we discover the true intelligence of Cetaceans, and as you pointed out, Birds and Elephants, we are far less likely to be the Lords of Creation, although we have, as the Bible puts it, been given a unique position as regards the stewardship of it. It is within our capacity to save or destroy Creation. It does not appear that Cetaceans, Birds, or Elephants have that capacity.
(Yeah I agree with this... that is actually a very good explanation)
They could probably make tools if they had a purpose to, or had hands... their environment restricted certain aspects of their development, but, also greatly advanced others.
(A), they have no need of tools, and (B), they have no hands. But then, their environment did require them to have either.
((Exactly. Yeah, that is where I was going with that statement, but did not verbalize it. A difference in environment and necessity allowed each of us to evolve differently.))
They can literally speak telepathically. By that, I mean they can create images with sonar and projected those images to each other. This has been proven. They can also tell each other how to open puzzles through verbal communication while blindfolded. Also proven.
... I accidentally deleted the quote about dialects and devices... but yes. Dolphins travel in pods obviously, and at certain times of the year, they all come together to form "megapods". Often times, pods will make friends with other pods and will re-unite. Sometimes children will seek out mothers , fathers, close and extended family from pods they have moved away from. Male and female dolphins usually travel in same sex pods, and come together with opposite sex pods during mating seasons or social gatherings or interactions. Male dolphins, when they reach a certain age will leave their mothers and seek out new friends and join new pods.
I bring this up for a reason.
Once researchers discovered this, they realized that dolphins, like most animals, including humans, could recognize familiar voices, even within mega pods, and would find those "people".
Once they figured this out, they started analyzing the speech. They found that each dolphin has a unique vocal pattern which they repeat when in large groups until they find who they are looking for.
They are saying their own names, and calling the names of their friends, as well as telling them where they are! Essentially playing "Marco Polo" within a group of thousands of other dolphins.
Once they discovered this, they essentially figured out that there was in fact a code to be cracked. Then while studying volunteer dolphins, (wild dolphins who were interested in playing with humans in their own natural habitat, not necessarily captive dolphins (although they do study captives as well) they found that they used nouns. They would bring items to the humans and try to teach the humans what that item was called.
This lead to a group of scientists making an electronic device that would translate human words into dolphin!
It was basically a synthesizer that loosely mimicked squeeks and whistles. They programmed a few words into it, and a diver could press a button and play those words.
"My name is bob"
And the dolphin would say "my name is dolphin (unknown) squeek whistle chatter squeek"
"My name is bob"
"Squeek whistle chatter chatter. (You already said that... )
"My name is bob... "
"Whistle whistle squeek chatter chatter (omg Bob, you're obviously an idiot... are you hungry? I'll get you a fish.. be right back... dont die of starvation before I get back"
"My name is bob"
Dolphin goes away and comes back with a fish...
Diver holds up the fish, shakes it gently and says "fish"
Dolphin. "No... food"
Diver waves the fish in front of the dolphin
"My name is....... fish"
"No your name is bob... this is a food"
"Fyt...ch? "Fri... ch? No.. FOOD"
"My name is Bob, my name is fish"
"You ... are dense.... good luck out there.. goodbye.."
(That is where they learned that dolphins have different dialects. Fish is not pronounced the same way between all dolphins, and may not even be the same word at all, if even a word. But related pods do use the same or similar words. The pod that they got the word "fish" from, used a different word or dialect from the one they were talking to. But relatives of the one, understood!)
But they discovered that, while we use adjectives, nouns, pronounce, and phonetics in our language, they do not. Our languages are so far removed from one another, that we have to completely abandon all concept of language as grammar or syntactic oriented. When we speak, or write, there is a certain order of operations. Every letter makes a sound, those letters put into an order make a word, which form sentences. Even our computer programming languages work this way. They are based on english syntax combined with logic. (If this field is empty then return the result of NULL and output "you left this field blank". Then stop the script. otherwise, if not blank, continue the script and add that field to 1,000 then output the resulting number on the screen.)
Dolphins do not use this.. but they do use nouns.
In the mega pod seasons, they communicate, teach each other things, spread knowledge etc.
The most intelligent thing I heard from the scientists who are doing these experiments was "well... if we can learn to communicate with dolphins, then we have a much better chance of learning to communicate with alien species who do not use the same (type) of language(s) that we as humans use, should we ever meet them.
Which I thought was an amazing argument for learning to speak dolphin in itself. But once we finally learn dolphin, I fear the last thing we will hear from them is
....... "so long and thanks for all the fish."
I love the idea of us being able to communicate with any other animal outside of our own species, intelligently.
Some birds are thought to be equally as intelligent. As are elephants. Intelligence is very much a "concept". Not a well defined definition.
I think "intelligence" is well enough defined. It is simply different, and uniquely specialized, to each species possessing it.
(I agree with this as well. You're totally right. What I meant was, if you think back throughout history at previous arguments which humans made.
Humans vs animals. What makes us intelligent (and superior)
We are intelligent because:
we have emotions.
Ever seen a dog get sad when you leave? Or become incredibly happy when you come home?
We can make tools
So do other animals
We have speech
Almost every single lifeform in earth communicates. Some lifeforms do it better than others, but almost everything on this earth does in fact communicate. Plants communicate through chemicals, bugs chirp, some use luminescence, (as do sea creatures), animals vocalize, even some single cell organisms communicate through chemicals or lights.
Other creatures, especially of the sea, use gestures (sign language) to communicate... Among them are squid, octopi, cuttlefish and related. Fish as well.
Its the same argument as "what makes us alive" or "what is the definition of life"
By the definition of "life" (which changes all the time) a city should be just as alive as a human.
It breathes, it has arteries which pass "blood" through its veins, it eats, it grows, it generates waste, it breaks down and self repairs, it gets old, and eventually dies. (Note.. yes humans do this work, but, in a human, blood cells, antibodies, etc. do the work. Humans do the same jobs for the city.) Its an interesting take! The first time I heard that, I was floored.
So that is what I meant. "Intelligence" can be somewhat of an existential, or philosophical debate, as much as it is a Webster dictionary definition.
As for birds and elephants. I will keep this one short.
Birds... in the south, there are birds called Grackles. They are black birds. Not crowed, not ravens, but similar.
In Austin, some people call them "Taco Raptors" because, we have a lot of taco shops here, and they always hang out near any restaurant that has an out door seating area. They look for scraps. If you leave your taco unattended, within seconds one or several birds will attack your food.
They are also called "HEB birds". HEB is a regional grocery store. More on this in a second.
They are INCREDIBLY intelligent birds.
They have a bad stigma, and most people hate them.
The reason for this stems all the way back to the days of farmers. These birds do not live in forests. They prefer plains areas without trees. A farmers field during harvest season is the perfect place for them. They would eat TONS of crop and were considered a pest. Now, most of them live in cities.
They have this unique lifestyle which most other birds do not have. During the day, they fly around the city looking for food, annoying people at restaurants, etc, and often beg people for food. But at the end of the day towards dusk,
They congregate in the hundreds, thousands or sometimes 10,000+ birds, in HEB, Walmart, target, or any large parking lots.
When some people who are not from here see this, they LITERALLY think it is an apocalyptic plague!
So they call them HEB birds. Because they hang out in HEB parking lots. Or as I said, in reality any large parking lot. They spend the night squawking and carrying on until bed time, then they roost in whatever available trees there are for the night.
Through study, they have found that these birds are quite literally communicating with each other, telling one another where to find food, how to solve problems, where NOT to go, what NOT to eat, how to con humans out of food and other things, which we can only speculate.
When one bird is presented with a puzzle, it can tell a second bird how to solve that puzzle verbally, and the second bird will solve it without ever seeing the puzzle. Much like the testing they do on dolphins.
But, the point is, they do congregate and teach each other, exactly like dolphins do, and are probably equally as intelligent as either dolphins or ourselves.
One time, there was an old lady grackle that would watch me from a tree every day while I went outside to smoke and eat a snack on break. Eventually, she came down and started coming up to me. It would hop on one leg, until it got to me and would look me in the eye... I felt bad for it and gave it a small piece of [beep].
It put its other foot down and ran off.. "SCAMMED!" I though.
Then it did it again... so I gave it another piece, simply because I thought it was amusing that this bird literally knew, that if it hopped on one foot, I would feel bad for it and give it a [beep]. This went on for several weeks, every day. I'd catch crickets for it, give it crackers, bread, etc. It became my buddy.
She would actually let me hand feed her eventually. But still didn't stay too close.
Eventually it stopped coming by. I think it passed away. She was old.
A similar story a friend of mine had. This grackle would come and land on his banister on the back porch while he was out smoking. He would feed it. After 4 days, the bird would go and find a cigarette butt on the ground somewhere and bring it to him! It knew that he wanted cigarettes, and it was willing to trade for food. It did this every day for a few months and moved on.
Whereas, everyone who reads this, will find a different meaning in what I said, and no one, will truly see 100% of what I wrote.
I did not skim over it when I was finally ready to answer it. The first time I read it a few days ago, I skimmed it enough to know that it would require a more than simple answer, and I was in a hurry at the time. So I waited until today, when I would have time to read it thoroughly, and respond appropriately.
(A perfect example is one of the previous quotes and reply. We had no argument, but your perception and understanding of what I said, sparked a different response from what I intended, NOT because it was misunderstood, NOT because either of us misspoke, but because both of us interpreted the statement based upon our own realities and interpretations of the words written, which in turn sparked further conversation. When I read your comment, I elaborated, NOT to "drive my point home" but to further explain my thought, which will in turn hopefully warrant another conversation.
That is how humans interact. And to digress to a previous topic:
To me, THAT variance in perception.... the ability for each of us to interpret information uniquely and do something different with it than what is intended, is what makes us (or any intelligent species) intelligent.
4 people can be given the same problem and 3 people may not figure it out. One may solve it.
Or all 4 of them may solve it in different ways.
Read a poem to 4 people and you will receive 4 different answers as to what the poem meant.
That variance is what helped us become successful. It is based upon problem solving and thinking outside the box.
With that said, this is not the most efficient way to communicate. One person solves a puzzle. If they cannot articulate the answer to other people, or, if other people do not understand what is being said, or interpreted the instructions differently than intended, then it takes much longer for the second person to solve the puzzle than it should have, considering the answer was given to them. Dolphins for example can communicate the answer almost instantaneously.
Humans as a species, through DNA, can be tracked down to somewhere between 600 to 6000 people in all of existence. (Different scientists will give different numbers, but keep on mind that with such a lot population, there was a LOT of inbreeding going on, and it's nearly impossible to track to a specific number at that point in our history.
We were nearly wiped out as early humans at the beginning of the last ice age. I don't wish to elaborate on this currently.
The remaining humans moved towards the coast lines of southern africa, where food was plentiful and had to learn new survival skills. This pushed our boundaries. From there, the smartest survived and lived to make more humans, vs brute strength. By the time that ice started receding, we were "modern human". Which, brings us back to the "dolphins and humans evolved different was due to environmental needs, etc"
I really didn't plan to type this much. Once again, I am out of time, and regretfully cannot spend another 30 minutes spell checking and correcting grammar or eliminating southern colloquialisms, but I did skim through and tried to correct what I could. I wish I could go on for another few hours, I love this topic, but I can't haha.