MadSci Network: Zoology

Re: Is it possible some marine life is more intelligent?

Date: Mon Nov 20 09:25:11 2000
Posted By: John Metcalfe, Staff, Computing and Information Services, Texas A&M University at Galveston
Area of science: Zoology
ID: 973283666.Zo

Hi Maat,
Well, you've asked a question that many Marine Biologists and Marine 
Scientists have been struggling to answer for at least two decades.  In 
fact, there are so many references on the subject that it would take you 
equally as long to read them and get a sense of what they're saying.  So, 
I'll give you my opinion on the subject (since the jury is still out in 
the official circles).  

In my opinion, yes, there probably is marine life that is at least close 
(either we're smarter, or they are) to the level of human intelligence.  
Whether it's a cetacean or not is where it gets interesting...  Now I'm 
one of the growing number of supporters in favor of the cephalopod (squid, 
cuttlefish, and octopus) family's intelligence levels.  I don't know if 
you've seen the documentaries on some of the studies the scientific 
community has done to this point (A really good one was just on the 
Discovery Channel the other night.).  But I can tell you that the 
intelligence shown by some of those animals at least rivaled that of some 
of my classmates *grins*.  So, yes, I would say that we do have some close 
rivals out there beneath the waves.  What, or rather who, it will be has 
yet to be decided.

In closing, I really have to quote one of my favorite authors:
"So long, and thanks for all the fish."   -- farewell message from the 
dolphins in "The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams.

Hope my answer helped, there's a whole lot of information out there.  
Until it's proven, one way or another, there is no wrong answer.

John Metcalfe
B.S. Marine Sciences '99
Texas A&M University at Galveston

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