How do you measure intelligence across species?
January 25, 2006 8:55 AM Subscribe
Assume you had a list of different animal species, and you wanted to order it from most intelligent species to least. (1) What measure of intelligence would you use to compare different species--average number of neurons, for example, or ability to solve certain kinds of tests? Or something else entirely? (2) Can you give some examples of how some common farm, food, or pet animals might rank on the list?
posted by yankeefog to Science & Nature (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
And a special bonus question:
(3) Would your ranking end up with clusters of similarly-intelligent species, with each cluster separated by large gaps from the next one? Or would it be more a steady progression from least intelligent to most?
I recognize that there is not yet a scientific consensus on the meaning of "intelligence" within a single species, let alone among different ones, but I'm interested in well-informed best guesses, and even plausible speculation. Also, of course, I'm interested in hearing your answer to any of the above questions, even if you can't answer all of them.