Biggest living reptile today

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Biggest living reptile today

Post by Ji » Thu, 05 Mar 1998 04:00:00




Quote:

>How do you distinguish between instinct and intelligent behaviour?
>Humans learn instinctively; they do not consciously decide that they
>will be capable of learning something today, they just do it. My point

I don't know of any other species that pro actively attempts to learn
anything as a motivation.  Humans sometimes consciously make
the attempt to learn for the sake of learning.  It doesn't always work
all that well though.

Quote:
>stands; every animal can learn and the amount it learns is dependent
>upon its situation; an ant will learn where to find a food source
>through scent and if the scent trail fades it will still know how to
>find its way there again,

Nope.  No maps that small. :)
Ants act almost purely instinctively, with pheromone based communication
and navigation.  If an ant looses a trail it isn't likely to "remember" it
at all.  It may re-discover the route by instinctive searching.
Your email address is at the University of Bristol. While I don't think
that your University has a formal Entomology department, you do have
more than one member on staff that has expertise in that area.  I think the
name is Richard Wall.  Ask him about ants learning dead reckoning navigation
by memory.

a human might learn something more complex
but the principle is the same as are many of the motivations and actions
involved.

Quote:
>On a human scale, possibly, although I'm sure the cat/dog debate will
>rage on this group in response to that comment. :-) Learning is not
>necessarily a sign of intelligence; the animal in question must be
>rational (ie capable of applying acquired knowledge to its situation in
>reality) and this is a faculty all animals possess in order to survive;

No, not all animals even have a brain as such.

Quote:
>> It is not rational to say that there is no absolute value for differences in
>> intelligence,  differences in intelligence are as real as differences in size.
>> A very small elephant is still much larger than a very large mouse. By the same
>> token,  a very stupid human is much brighter than a very smart turtle.
>This last is certainly disputable; there are cases of stupid humans
>who appear incapable of learning or rational actions whereas most
>turtles are not.

I don't think there are any cases of humans that appear incapable of
learning that are not clinically profoundly retarded.  I am not referring
to any organism that is deemed mentally defective.  

Quote:
>There is no objective 'scale' of intelligence measuring
>differing levels in different species; something is not 'intelligent'
>above some watermark and 'arational' below. Rather intelligence is a
>gradual development which, like other evolutionary adaptions, arises in
>response to a certain environment.
>To use your example of size, a large
>mouse is large and a large elephant is large, but they are not equal in
>size, and you cannot directly compare the two using a single 'size'
>scale

Actually to make a comparison one has to use a single scale.

Quote:
>(in this case the human one); in terms relative to the species, a
>large mouse may be every bit as large as a large elephant although in
>human terms a large elephant is big and a large mouse is small; this is
>merely superimposing a standard on those creatures which is of no
>relevance to them and in the same way judging other species by our
>particular type of intelligence is somewhat blinkered; note that this is

Blinkered?
Actually, there is nothing anthropomorphic about applying an evaluation
to an organism's problem solving abilities.

Quote:
>a distinction between types rather than levels; a 'level' of height
>would indeed be a particular point on some imaginary scale, but there is
>no such scale by which intelligence can be measured. It can be thought
>of in evolutionary terms; an animal which evolved millions of years ago
>and has remined relatively unchanged due to its highly effective
>adaptions to its environment is more efficiently evolved than a species which
>evolved much later but has not adapted as well to its environment,
>although many people would contest that the newer species is more
>'highly' evolved, this is an arbitrary human distinction based on age
>(thinking that younger = better because humans evolved recently, for
>example; after all, originally we were all nice, compact single-celled
>things, and nowadays many more cells are required to store the
>information to run one living organism, which also requires energy
>gathered from sources external to itself; perhaps evolution is simply
>entropy and the earliest forms of life were in fact the pinnacle of a
>process which has been falling further into decay ever since - not
>that I believe it). Similarly, a creature with a very high intelligence
>of a particular type might seem to a human to have a fairly low
>intelligence because the type of intelligence it possesses is not
>recognised by humans and a comparison between two species based upoin
>one of those species' interpretation of inrtelligence is misleading in
>the extreme.

Huh?
Come on, is this your freshman debate project?

Quote:
>> There are extensive variations even between individuals of the same species.
>> By the same token some instinctual behaviors are so strong that they cause
>> something to display an act that seems incredibly stupid under some
>> individual circumstance, but the law of averages makes the behavior
>> successful on a species wide basis.  There are striking examples of this
>> even among humans.
>That is because, in this case, we are back to 'levels' rather than
>types; humans can all be assumed to possess the same type of
>intelligence, and so attributing a scale pf intelligence to them is
>fairly easy;

In practice that isn't really the case.
I've taken the Mensa exam, and the test is for intelligence in several
types of problem solving, not merely memory, analytical, or any other.
Any test of raw intelligence isn't going to focus on some narrow type or
style of problem solving.

Quote:
> we are not dealing with two types of intelligence developed
>in accordance with different evolutionary situations. As with the size
>example, a human can be tall or short for a human, but using the word
>'tall' to describe both a human and a giraffe would be misleading.

Phillip, You have shown yourself to be a thinking individual, so I feel that
I should say this.
I don't think that you should let me or anyone else interpret the evidence for you,
You sound capable of interpreting it yourself.  You also may have the resources to
do this.
Forget what I have said.
Forget what anyone else has said.
Forget what you have read (conclusions that is).
Find the research done on the problem solving skills of human and non-human species.  
A good researcher will differentiate between conditioned learning, learning by discovery,
and insightful actions.

I am guessing that you will find that some species, or to simplify, some phyla
will display consistently better results than others on just about all tests.
You wont find that any group of say, lobster test more intelligent than any
group of orangutans.

Cite 5 studies and prove me wrong.

Best Regards,
Jim Strickland.
Just remember, compared to turtles snakes is dumb as rocks.

 
 
 

Biggest living reptile today

Post by mick » Thu, 05 Mar 1998 04:00:00


Yes I think they are also called sea wasp's.

 
 
 

Biggest living reptile today

Post by Adam Britt » Thu, 05 Mar 1998 04:00:00


On Mon, 02 Mar 1998 16:15:44 -0800, GeoMac

Quote:

>At almost all National Parks in the US and in the nature reserves in
>Califorina a great deal of emphasis is placed on not feeding wild
>animals (often for a range of very good reasons).  I figured that enough
>people had internalized those messages that I was sure to get criticized
>for advocating (even indirectly) the feeding of wild animals.  My
>reference to "political correctness" implied that it may result in a
>self-righteous emotional response (which didn't come BTW; jas has done a
>good job of mentioning some reasons to be concerned about feeding wild
>beasties)

Yes, but people often take a handful of studies which provide evidence
that feeding of wild animals is detrimental (read that carefully) and
then apply it to every conceivable situation. As I said in my reply to
jas' message, there is no evidence that this applies to the Adelaide
river crocodiles - for the known reasons that I stated. It's very
"green" to think that we shouldn't disturb the environment in any way,
ever, because it is "sacred", but often these feelings are misplaced
because in actual fact the particular action being discussed has no
detrimental effect on the situation (even though it might apply
elsewhere - black bears in your example). Weigh that up against the
benefits (increasing the perceived "value" of the crocs to tourists,
landowners and the general public) and you end up with a system which
benefits far more than it detracts.

Quote:
>Maybe the logic is:  If I am in a group of 20 people, there is only a %5
>chance that I'll be the one the croc grabs.  The more people in the
>group the safer I am.

How about: Do not ignore the warning signs showing that "Crocodiles
inhabit these waters" and you won't be grabbed at all. Every time a
croc grabs someone who decides the ignore the warnings, the species
loses a considerable number of accrued "right to existance" points in
the eyes of the general public. Crocs do kill people out here
occasionally - it's a serious matter, and believing that you're safe
in a group of people is exactly the kind of thing that leads to
tragedy.

Adam Britton | crocodilian[at]ibm.net
Crocodile Research | Darwin, Australia

 
 
 

Biggest living reptile today

Post by GeoMa » Thu, 05 Mar 1998 04:00:00


Quote:

> Yes, but people often take a handful of studies which provide evidence
> that feeding of wild animals is detrimental (read that carefully) and
> then apply it to every conceivable situation.

Actually much of what I have heard on this, is centered on potential
threats to the humans.  At Yosemite National Park 2 years ago, a child
was killed by a deer that he approached to pet/feed.  The threats from
bears and coyotes are obvious but, people don't expect to get bitten by
the cute little ground squirel that is begging in the campground.  And
then there are rabies and plague to think about....

Of course in the case of salties, there is no danger of teaching them to
associate us with food, we are that to them anyway.  

Quote:
>As I said in my reply to
> jas' message, there is no evidence that this applies to the Adelaide
> river crocodiles - for the known reasons that I stated. It's very
> "green" to think that we shouldn't disturb the environment in any way,
> ever, because it is "sacred", but often these feelings are misplaced
> because in actual fact the particular action being discussed has no
> detrimental effect on the situation (even though it might apply
> elsewhere - black bears in your example). Weigh that up against the
> benefits (increasing the perceived "value" of the crocs to tourists,
> landowners and the general public) and you end up with a system which
> benefits far more than it detracts.

Very well stated, and as have already indicated, I agree with you 100%

Quote:

> How about: Do not ignore the warning signs showing that "Crocodiles
> inhabit these waters" and you won't be grabbed at all. Every time a
> croc grabs someone who decides the ignore the warnings, the species
> loses a considerable number of accrued "right to existance" points in
> the eyes of the general public.

I tend to view the fools who ignore the warnings and end up being
introduced to the food chain as a good example of natural selection at
work.  As far as the "right to existance" points, we have a very
comperable situation in California with mountain lions.  There was an
attempt to releagalize hunting last year with the arguement that it was
needed to protect the human population.  Locally we had a kid get taken
by a lion a few years ago, and it ended up being a huge PR disaster for
the animals.

Quote:
>Crocs do kill people out here
> occasionally - it's a serious matter, and believing that you're safe
> in a group of people is exactly the kind of thing that leads to
> tragedy.

Yes, sometimes misinformation can kill.

Phil Hughes

 
 
 

Biggest living reptile today

Post by jas » Thu, 05 Mar 1998 04:00:00



Quote:

> >How do you distinguish between instinct and intelligent behaviour?
> >Humans learn instinctively; they do not consciously decide that they
> >will be capable of learning something today, they just do it. My point

> I don't know of any other species that pro actively attempts to learn
> anything as a motivation.  Humans sometimes consciously make
> the attempt to learn for the sake of learning.  It doesn't always work
> all that well though.

True! How do you explain college! There was something interesting I read
in National Geographic. It was in a special issue that addressed how
different animals played, and said that animals that played games for fun
tended to be higher on the intelligence ratio.

-jas

***************************************************************************

"Kittens are cute, but they wouldn't be so cute if they were bigger
than you. Then they could eat you."  -Deep Thoughts

 
 
 

Biggest living reptile today

Post by Randy Remingto » Thu, 05 Mar 1998 04:00:00


I was watching a special on bats once and they showed a snake which had
learned to crawl to the mouth of a cave at sundown and hang over the
entrance with his mouth open.

The Elaphe Taeniura Taeniura I have on breeding loan look intelligent.  They
watch my every move with head raised and big eyes.  My corns could care less
what I do most of the time.

I've heard Retics are very intelligent but have not worked with them myself.

 
 
 

Biggest living reptile today

Post by Randy Remingto » Thu, 05 Mar 1998 04:00:00


One other,

You would expect that anything that lives as long as the giant tortoises to
learn a thing or two.

I've heard that on the hot arid Aldabra islands the Aldabra tortoise will
stretch up tall on it's legs and wait for birds to gather in it's shade.  It
then drops on them and eats their smashed bodies (life is apparently pretty
*** these islands).

 
 
 

Biggest living reptile today

Post by Randy Remingto » Thu, 05 Mar 1998 04:00:00


Quote:


>> My turtle Cherry Pie is very smart.  When I put a food bowl in between
her
>> and Boomhauer, she will spin it around with her front legs to make sure
the
>> bananas are on her side of the dish.  She does this every time.  If I put
>> the dish down with the bananas on her side, she doesn't bother to spin
it,
>> just starts eating!!

>Perhaps she just likes bananas more than her other food (though where a
>turtle would have acquired a taste for bananas I don't know). :-)

>Philip Bowles

I think the point was that she not only likes the sweat bananas best, she
knows how to get them first without having to walk around the bowl and push
the other tortoise out of the way.
 
 
 

Biggest living reptile today

Post by PM Bowle » Fri, 06 Mar 1998 04:00:00


Quote:



> > >How do you distinguish between instinct and intelligent behaviour?
> > >Humans learn instinctively; they do not consciously decide that they
> > >will be capable of learning something today, they just do it. My point

> > I don't know of any other species that pro actively attempts to learn
> > anything as a motivation.  Humans sometimes consciously make
> > the attempt to learn for the sake of learning.  It doesn't always work
> > all that well though.

Most primates possess a high degree of curiosity, and in humans this is
compoundfed by our instinctual desire to innovate. It is probable that
most social primates have an inherent desire to learn; if you put a
chimp or monkey in a laboratory, it will be curious and try to find out
what is going on around it; this behaviour is most evident in humans
simply because we surround ourself with an artificial environment in
which there is a lot to learn; a chimp in the forest simply has other
things to occupy his mind, such as surviving, foraging etc, and the
can't afford the luxury of scientifically examining everything. Stick
the same animal in an environment where it is fed, safe from predators
and possessing a lot of things for the chimp to be curious about, and it
will try to find out about them.

Philip Bowles

 
 
 

Biggest living reptile today

Post by Kevin-NER » Fri, 06 Mar 1998 04:00:00


Quote:

> Some suggestions:

> Lizards--monitor lizards, esp Komodo dragons
> Turtles/tortoises--wood turtles.
> Crocodiles and alligators may be among the most intelligent reptiles overall.

> --Winged Wolf
> the were/psion

> Psion Guild
> http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/4514/

Alligators are quite something, you'd know if you raised them, I have
one in particular that is smart, no question!!! 5' genius in the reptile
world -kev
 
 
 

Biggest living reptile today

Post by Ji » Sat, 07 Mar 1998 04:00:00




Quote:
>Most primates possess a high degree of curiosity, and in humans this is
>compoundfed by our instinctual desire to innovate. It is probable that
>most social primates have an inherent desire to learn; if you put a
>chimp or monkey in a laboratory, it will be curious and try to find out
>what is going on around it; this behaviour is most evident in humans
>simply because we surround ourself with an artificial environment in
>which there is a lot to learn; a chimp in the forest simply has other
>things to occupy his mind, such as surviving, foraging etc, and the
>can't afford the luxury of scientifically examining everything. Stick
>the same animal in an environment where it is fed, safe from predators
>and possessing a lot of things for the chimp to be curious about, and it
>will try to find out about them.

>Philip Bowles

I agree.  This has been shown to be the case many times.
As a matter of fact I understand that a very major problem with keeping simians
is that they become bored to the point of psychosis.
I am actually inclined to attribute a fair degree of sentience to the great
apes and other intelligent mammals.
I am not inclined to attribute any sentience at all the nearly any invertebrate
(except maybe encephlapods) and very little to any herp, the purported subject
of this usenet group.
And none to an aphid, a gnat or a microbe.

Jim

--
To send mail remove "nospam" from email address.

 
 
 

Biggest living reptile today

Post by WngdWolf » Sat, 07 Mar 1998 04:00:00



Quote:

>Kind of a dull discussion. All herps are as dumb as fence posts (well,
>not quite, but none are very bright compared to intellectual giants like
>birds).

Well, every class has its intellectual giants and pee wees.  Some large parrots
are as bright as 2 year old human children.  Some mammals aren't any brighter
than a lizard. (hedgehogs).

--Winged Wolf
the were/psion

Psion Guild
http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/4514/

 
 
 

Biggest living reptile today

Post by WngdWolf » Sat, 07 Mar 1998 04:00:00


Some suggestions:

Lizards--monitor lizards, esp Komodo dragons
Turtles/tortoises--wood turtles.
Crocodiles and alligators may be among the most intelligent reptiles overall.

--Winged Wolf
the were/psion

Psion Guild
http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/4514/