Unraveling Reality {33} Animal Intelligence


“The more we look at the behavior of insects, birds, and mammals, including man, the more we see a continuum of complexity rather than any dramatic difference in kind.” ~ American ethologists Carol Gould & James Gould

Animals originated during the Tonian period. The last common ancestor of animals arose nearly 800 million years ago.

The term animal comes from the Latin animalis, meaning “having breath.” But breath does not distinguish animals from plants. Plant pores have a regulated cycle of breathing in carbon dioxide and exhaling water vapor.

Animals evolved centralized intelligence processing centers for digestion and cognition. In later-evolved animals, identifiable brains exhibit electro-chemical activity that simultaneously correlates with mental processing.

“Every mental sequence runs side by side with the physical aspect.” ~ Scottish philosopher Alexander Bain in 1885

Perception takes sensory input, which is rendered symbolically, and turns it into meaningful patterns: it is a multi-stage process of differentiation and interpretive imagining of relations between discerned objects. Perception occurs in synchronic waves; attention temporally quantizes on symbolic objects.

“Our understanding of the world goes through cycles. The senses are not constant but are processed via rhythmic functions. Humans make decisions at the rate of about 1/6th of a second, which is in line with these sensory oscillations.” ~ Australian psychologist David Alais