Natures wonders: Crocodile tools (Introduction)

by dhw, Thursday, December 05, 2013, 15:19 (2084 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: Is there any difference between the croc's ingenuity and that of the first fire ants who made themselves into a raft in order to survive the floods? Preprogramming? God dabbling? Or independently inventive formic intelligence?

DAVID: Asking the same question for which there is no answer. We do not know how instinct is developed.

Nor do we know how intelligence is developed. Nor do we know where to draw the borderline between instinct and intelligence. Instinct is normally pretty standardized, but if one croc uses sticks as bait and another doesn't, or one crow can solve puzzles while another can't, or one rat can exit the maze more quickly than another, is it not possible that the one is simply more intelligent than the other? And how many fire ants do you think might have drowned before they invented their D-I-Y raft? My earlier questions were meant to highlight the sheer scale of what your first-cell-preprogramming theory demands (with its zillions of physical and strategic variations for the trillions of species to follow during the next few billion years), even allowing for your divine dabbling theory (Creationism). One intelligent croc and maybe a couple of intelligent ants are all you need to come up with a stick-baiting or ant-rafting idea that can then be passed on to subsequent generations.

Here is an article on the recent discovery that ants teach each other one to one in the hunt for food, after which the pupil becomes a teacher, and so on. Why would pupils need to be taught what you think is an instinctive activity?

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