|How did humans bacome so smart and learn all the
technology? Could sheep or some other type of
bacome smart and invent new technology? If you
acustume a type of nonhuman animal to what humans
do could they just act like a Human Are there
Homo Erectus or one of those types of Human
presently on Earth?
|Question Date: 2003-06-03|
You asked some great questions! Here are my
1. How did humans become so smart and
learn all the technology?
This is actually a
complicated question. The way humans became smart
was most likely the same way all animals change
over time. We evolved into smarter and smarter
animals because something about our environment
encouraged us to be smarter. What I mean is that,
because of who we were and how we interacted with
our environment, we were more successful as a
species when we used our intelligence. So, people
who did smarter things lived better lives, and had
more children. Since the smart people were having
more smart children, the overall population was
made up of more and more smart people...before you
know it, we had evolved into a smarter species!
This is how evolution works--in the expression
"survival of the fittest," survival actually means
survival of the whole species, not an individual
like you or me. Also, "fittest" doesn't mean
strongest, it means best suited to his or her
environment. For some reason, being smart made us
more "fit" for our environment, so we gradually
changed into smarter and smarter creatures. For
other animals, though, things other than
intelligence were more important for making them
fit for their environment. For example, Cheetahs
are more successful if they're fast, not smart,
and Birds of Paradise are more successful if the
males have beautiful tail feathers to attract
mates more easily. So it's not all about being
strong! As for the technology, I think that
naturally followed from our intelligence and the
fact that we have such useful hands. Our brains
helped us figure out better and better ways to do
things, and our hands are versatile enough that we
can actually build things that make our ideas
work. So, instead of huddling around a fire and
shouting to your friends at the neighbor's fire,
you can put on warm clothes, turn on the heater,
and call your friends on the telephone! Wow, that
was a long answer (but I think that means it was a
Could sheep or some other type
of become smart and invent new technology?
This might become possible, but it would
depend on many things. For sheep, the answer is
probably no. Sheep have evolved into animals that
don't need to be very smart to survive. A totally
new environment, with different food sources and
different hunters and different competitors would
be required to change that. This new environment
would have to be so different that I don't think
it would ever actually exist. This might be
different for other animals, though. Dolphins and
whales seem to be extremely smart already.
Some people think that if they only had
thumbs, they might actually have civilizations and
technologies as complex as ours. Apes (like
Gorillas, Orangutans, and Chimpanzees) are also
extremely smart...and they do have thumbs! I think
that if humans didn't exist, these Apes would
evolve into creatures as smart and capable as we
are. Scientists are discovering more and more
animals that are much smarter than we once
thought. Parrots, for example, can score as high
as some three-year-old humans on some intelligence
tests! (That makes me think twice about keeping
them in cages!) But, it would be very hard for
them to invent something as complex as a car, for
example, without hands to build and use tools. If
you're around in a million years, though, check
out the Apes to see how they're doing!
accustom a type of nonhuman animal to what humans
do, could they just act like a Human?
cases, the answer to this question is yes.
Chimpanzees can paint and draw and play simple
video games, seeing eye dogs can learn to "read"
crosswalk signs so they know when it's safe to
cross a street, and I've heard of pet cats than
can open doors and turn on lights. Many of the
more complicated things we do, though, are
probably beyond most animals' capabilities. Most
animals wouldn't understand the need to drive a
car or bake muffins, and these activities are very
different from their normal activities, so it
would be almost impossible to teach them to do
these things. Like in the last question, though,
Apes might be an exception.
very little that humans do that Apes couldn't
learn to do.
This is one reason why it's so
sad that many of them are so endangered!
there Homo Erectus or one of those types of Human
presently on Earth?
Basically, my answer is
no, not really, but it's actually a little more
complicated than that. What complicates this issue
is the fact that nobody can agree on what happened
to Neanderthals. (Have you heard of Neanderthals?
They were primitive humans who lived in Europe
until about 35,000 years ago.) Some scientists
argue that Homo neanderthalensis (the scientific
name for Neanderthals) went extinct after Homo
sapiens (that's who we are today) appeared on the
scene, but other scientists argue that
Neanderthals and modern humans lived together and m
Humans aren't the only animal that makes and uses
tools. Numerous other apes, especially
chimpanzes,have been known to create rods for
catching termites from a nest by taking a stick
and stripping off all of the leaves. Sea otters
have been known to choose and fashion stones with
which to smash open shells of clams, and octopus
sometimes jam pebbles into the shells of clams to
prevent them from closing.
There are many
theories for the evolution of intelligence in
humans, but when intelligence in animals is
examined, a number of trends appear:
Carnivores tend to be more intelligent than
herbivores. Intelligence is probably needed to
stalk and chase prey rather than to just eat it
growing on the ground.
2. Animals that feed off
of variable food sources,like scavengers, tend to
3. Animals with relatively
developed sensory mechanisms need intelligence to
comprehend those senses.
4. Animals that have a
large number of appendages that can be used to
manipulate objects tend to be especially
5. Animals that care for their
young tend to be intelligent.
walking on two legs instead of four, freed up
their forelimbs into arms, and fingers are
excellent manipulatory tools. Being mammals,
humans need to take care of their young at least
for a while(since mothers produce milk for their
offspring). Lastly, humans were in the past
eating meat when they
caught it, and padding out their diet with fruits,
nuts, and various other plant products. Thus, it
would be reasonable to expect that humans would be
fairly intelligent animals, having at least three
of the five points that listed above.
important evolutionary step for humans,however,
was probably communication by language. Other
animals communicate, either by sound, gesture,
smell,or touch. However, humans alone are capable
of creating a new sound (a new word) to identify
something that has not been seen before. Because
of this, a human can speak to another human about
something which is not present to be pointed to or
talked about; in fact, they need not have ever
even seen what they are talking about! The ability
to have technology, I think, is dependent upon
this: because we can communicate abstract concepts
through language,we can build upon the ideas of
Could sheep or some other type of
become smart and invent new technology?
theory, yes. However, sheep are herbivores, they
are not opportunistic, and they have no fingers to
manipulate anything. As it turns out, sheep are
among the less intelligent of mammals. That being
said, I can thing of other animals - bears,
wolves, crows,squids, octopuses, etc. that could
possibly become able to invent
If you accustom a type of
nonhuman animal to what humans do, could they
just act like a Human ?
Part of the reason why
humans behave the ways that they do is learned.
Other parts of that reason is that humans have
instincts. Other animals also have instincts, and
those instincts are not always the same. So, yes
Are there Homo Erectus or one of
those types of Human presently on Earth?
only species of human presently living on Earth is
Homo sapiens. All other species of Homo are extinc
-however, new ones may evolve from us.
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