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C30N9

Is human the only creature on earth that can think and evolve?

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Or another question: If an animal was let to live on its own in nature without human interactions (like "zoo"ing it or preventing it from reaching anything), would it think about developing its life?

(No I didn't search or "google" anything.)

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C30N9 said:

Is human the only creature on earth that can think and evolve?

No. A lot of animals "think" to some degree and are continuing to evolve at varying rates. Evolution doesn't stop.

I don't even understand your second question.

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Dolphins and monkeys. They both recognize their reflections. Elephants can remember things forever. Smaller elephants called pigs are as smart as a 3 year old. A 200 - 800 lbs 3 year old. My uncle the pig farmer always has to secure pens.

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Even crows manufacture tools for themselves. Only humans keep their tools though.

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j4rio said:

This is a dumb comic. Evolution is a process that happens through multiple generations, not through an individual's lifetime. A beached whale is not going to evolve into anything, it's just going to die.

Also whales are mammals. In their evolutionary life, they got out of the ocean, then went back in.

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I remember reading something on humans gradually getting bigger heads, I wonder if we will become like the aliens in myths with big heads and small bodies.

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C30N9 said:

If an animal was let to live on its own in nature without human interactions (like "zoo"ing it or preventing it from reaching anything), would it think about developing its life?

Our distant ancestors did, and I wouldn't be surprised if some other species does after we're gone.

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I think humans are the ones that make whales beach themselves in the first place, with their cacophony of sonar.

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There are lots of animals that appear to plan ahead (eg. food for the winter), but they do it instinctively. There are also some apes (forget which ones) that have shown signs of developing the rudiments of culture where they open nuts differently in different populations. Find a non-human animal population showing a long-term (greater than a day even) plan that isn't instinctive and it will be very interesting indeed.

Really clever animals, like elephants or chimpanzees, seem like prime candidates for that sort of thing.

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As well as the current groups of animals that clearly think and show signs of social awareness, there have already been other thinking-to-an-almost-human-level animals on the planet. Of course, they're all gone now but I think it would be fascinating to live in a world where there were other non-humans that could function intellectually in a similar way to what we do. Just imagine the wars, slavery and speciesism that would result. :roll:

Basically, though, the original question in this thread shows a lack of understanding of the two main terms used and asks about something that you can find the answer to with even the most cursory of research. Many animals think. All living organisms can and do evolve.

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I think it's far too late now to expect any species to mutate into something super-smart. They don't have the territory to develop any longer.

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cephalopods are supposedly very smart. Very different smart, as they aren't social like most other smart critters.

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Crasger said:

even plants have the ability to think and evolve.


Of course plants evolve, just like every form of life, but think? Plants don't have a central nervous system, which means, they have no brain. So they can't "think".

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I'm going to make up my own interpretation of the question, just to try to make sense of this. Regarding thinking and evolution, well, there is something to be said for the fact that our brains have allowed us to grow beyond the bonds of evolution. All organisms on this planet evolve, and many are capable of thinking. What makes humans unique is that we've developed the ability to learn far beyond that of most animals. As part of that, we've also developed the ability to store and retrieve knowledge, as well as share it, via writing (as I'm doing right now). Between our ability to learn and our ability to read and write, we are no longer as restricted by evolution as our ancestors. What I mean is, there's a predator hunting us, we don't have to wait millions of years to develop natural defenses, we can use our ability to learn and share knowledge to create tools to defend ourselves. That ability has been a real game-changer.

Of course, it isn't entirely unique. There is some indication that some animals may be able to communicate to exchange information (I recall a study in which crows were shown to have the ability to not only recognize faces of people who harassed them, but even somehow communicate the danger of certain people to other crows), and of course, some animals have been shown to use tools, such as octopuses which carry shelters around with them or various monkeys/apes which, for instance, use sticks to extract termites from their nests. Nonetheless, we are overall the best at that.

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Inkie said:

cephalopods are supposedly very smart. Very different smart, as they aren't social like most other smart critters.


I've actually heard this too (Well, from a Michael Crichton novel, which means it must be true), but they can't do a whole lot because of a very limited lifespan.

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