Friday, August 18, 2006
Paul Manger of Johannesburg's University of the Witwatersrand says the super-sized brains of dolphins, whales and porpoises are a function of being warm-blooded in a cold water environment and not a sign of intelligence.
'We equate our big brain with intelligence. Over the years we have looked at these kinds of things and said the dolphins must be intelligent,' he said.
"The real flaw in this logic is that it suggests all brains are built the same ... When you look at the structure of the dolphin brain you see it is not built for complex information processing," he told Reuters in an interview.
A neuroethologist who looks at brain evolution, Manger's views are sure to cause a stir among a public which has long associated dolphins with intelligence, emotion and other humanlike qualities.
The above news release is based on "An examination of cetacean brain structure with a novel hypothesis correlating thermogenesis to the evolution of a big brain" (Abstract).