Friday, February 23, 2007

New Meaning to Bird Brained

Birds Plan Future Meals

One of the scientific arguments I hate the most is the whole "brain size equals intelligence." For some reason, people like to hypothesize that if you have MORE brain matter, you must be smarter. A corollary to this is body to brain size ratio. Meaning: if your brain is big relative to body size, then you're smart. This argument is often used to dismiss the native intelligence of animal species that aren't primates (or cetecea -- whales, dolphins, etc.) It's this same argument that makes people SHOCKED, I tell you, SHOCKED to discover that Einstein's brain was actually smaller than average.

I've always thought that corvids (ravens, crows, jays, magpies, etc.) are smart. My evidence, of course, is all just intuition and anecdotal, however, it's nice when science backs up my feelings.

This bird is smarter than me. Half the time I don't remember to eat breakfast.

1 comment:

jpj said...

Ah, yes, but you can use brain size to argue that penguins are as smart as people:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZmx0jml1jk

The brain size argument was a foundation for a lot of scientific racists through the years. I could recommend lots of books on that if you aren't careful