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  1. Intelligence A Uniquely Human Characteristic Or A Universal Phenomena? Jack Barry Summer Carrillo Ashley Van Osdel

  2. What is Intelligence? • A very general mental capability that, among other things, involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience…it reflects a broader and deeper capability for comprehending our surroundings—"catching on", "making sense" of things, or "figuring out" what to do. • "Mainstream Science on Intelligence” 1994.

  3. The earliest unicellular organisms on Earth did not possess nervous systems. • The first multicelled animals (metazoans) developed simple nervous systems about 560 million years ago. • More recent groups, such as vertebrates, have even larger brains and suggested a trend. • Consistent with this pattern is that the most encephalized animal, modern Homo sapiens, arose only 500,000 years ago. •

  4. Two Types of Mechanisms for the Increase of Intelligence • Passive -- If earlier organisms arose near a lower limit on brain size, then, as diversity increased, mean brain size could only increase along with it. Brain size, in John Maynard Smiths words, had "nowhere to go but up." We term this mechanism a passive trend because it does not imply any active selection for increased intelligence. • Active -- In contrast, an active or driven trend involves an upward tendency toward increasingly higher encephalization levels induced by natural selection. •

  5. If trends in intelligence are driven, then less intelligent species will evolve into more intelligent species more frequently at a faster rate than otherwise. Therefore, the expected number of highly intelligent species at any given time will be greater than if no such tendency existed. Further, larger numbers of highly intelligent species increases the probability that at least one such species will survive extinction, or in other words, that intelligent life will be continuously present somewhere. •

  6. Humans are at the top of the food chain!

  7. For the past 6 million years humans and their most archaic ancestors have been evolving and adapting • Some time between 2.5 &1.8 million years ago Homo habilis first used primitive stone tools • In 1997 a sheep, “Dolly”, was cloned • This is a lot of technology in not very much time

  8. Cetaceans • Cetaceans are the mammals most fully adapted to aquatic life. Includes whales, dolphins and porpoises Evolved from land mammals during the Eocene Epoch Vestiges of mammalian hands and feet can still be seen

  9. Cetaceans are highly encephalized, possessing EQs that range very close to that of humans and higher than that of other mammals. • Cetaceans haven’t shared a common ancestor with primates for over 85 million years. As a result, their brains are very differently organized than primate brains. • They can afford us the opportunity to examine a highly elaborated brain that has taken a very different evolutionary path from our own. •

  10. Astrobiology • Multidisciplinary field utilizing physics, biology, and geology as well as philosophy to speculate about the nature of life on other worlds • Involves the Drake Equation • Drake and his colleagues found there to be 10 intelligent civilizations in our galaxy • Johnson, Stevens F. The Drake Equation. Department of Physics/Science, Bemidji State University. June 25, 2003

  11. DNA Equivalent • Nucleotides other than DNA could create life • “DNA is so unbelievably complex, how in the world was it first synthesized? Are there different ways to make DNA? Was ours just the first out of the gate? Was there a whole zoo of DNAs out there, competing with each other? Is this the most efficient way to make it, or is this simply the way you make it under the conditions of 3.5 billion years ago, when we presumably first appeared?” -Peter Ward •