August 20, 2006

Dolphins are dumber than goldfish

On the heels of the apes are smarter than monkeys post, a South African researcher suggests that dolphins' intelligence has been overestimated; he suggests that their big brains don't make them smart, but are rather useful to help them survive in water.
A South African Researcher suggests that dolphins should no longer be included in the category of the smartest animals, since a study he conducted showed that they can’t complete tasks even a goldfish did.

According to Paul Manger from Johannesburg's University of the Witwatersrand, even whales are dumber than goldfish.

The big-sized brain of dolphins may be related to keeping warm in cold water, rather than intelligence.

For years, humans have assumed the large brains of dolphins meant the mammals were highly intelligent. This is why the conclusions pulled by the SA scientist have been questioned by many marine scientists, who remain convinced of the intelligence of the marine mammals.

"We equate our big brain with intelligence. Over the years we have looked at these kinds of things and said the dolphins must be intelligent," Manger said.

"The real flaw in this logic is that it suggests all brains are built the same ... When you look at the structure of the dolphin brain you see it is not built for complex information processing," he told Reuters in an interview. A neuroethologist who looks at brain evolution, Manger's views are sure to cause a stir among a public which has long associated dolphins with intelligence, emotion and other human-like qualities.

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