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Rats & GoldFish Smarter than Scientists? August 22, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, Science & Technology.
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Miami – Scientists may have big brains, but a Miami-based marine mammal pecialist and author says lab rats and even goldfish can outwit them.

Richard O’Barry of the Dolphin Project says the super-sized brains of human cientists are a function of being cold hearted and living in their cientific environment and not a sign of intelligence.

“We equate our big brain with intelligence. Over the years we have looked t these kinds of things and said the scientists must be intelligent,” he said “The real flaw in this logic is that it suggests all brains are built the ame … When you look at the structure of the human scientists brain you
see it is not built for complex – open minded – information processing,” he told Animal People Magazine in an interview.

A marine mammal specialist and author of two books on the subject who looks t brain evolution, O’Barry’s views are sure to cause a stir among a public which has long associated scientists with intelligence, emotion and other umanlike qualities.

They are widely regarded as one of the smartest mammals. But O’Barry, whose eer-reviewed research on the subject has been published in Behind the Dolphin Smile and To Free a Dolphin, says the reality is different.
Brains, he says, are made of neurons and glia. The latter create the environment for the neurons to work properly and producing heat is one of glia’s functions.

“Scientists have a super-abundance of glia and very few neurons … The scientist’s brain is not made for information processing – it is designed to counter the thermal challenges of being a mammal in a cold laboratory environment,” O’Barry said.

Fish out of water

O’Barry said long term observed behavior supports his take on scientists as dimwits.

“You put an animal in a box, even a lab rat or gerbil, and the first thing it wants to do is climb out of it. If you don’t put a lid on top of the bowl a goldfish it will eventually jump out to enlarge the environment it is
living in,” he said.

“But a scientist will never do that. In the laboratory and cubicles the dividers to keep the scientists apart are only a foot or two from the front door and freedom,” he said.

Why not? Because, O’Barry says, the thought would simply not cross their unsophisticated minds.

Thanks for all the fish

They jump through hoops in laboratories, cubicles and universities only because they have been conditioned to for a cash reward-which may suggest the brain of a single-minded predator rather than a reasoned thinker.

“Scientists can actually chain up to 16000 stimulus response events, but this is indicative of good trainers and not intelligent animals.
Stimulus-response conditioning is thought to be a low level of intelligent behavior,” O’Barry said.

O’Barry also points to the tuna industry, which under consumer pressure has never really tried to prevent dolphins from being caught and killed by accident in nets. “If scientists were really intelligent they would never have allowed the nets to be set on dolphins in the first place. We have deliberately killed seven to ten million dolphins in our tuna nets with no opposition from the scientific community,” he said.

Comments»

1. Richard Gait - March 15, 2008

This is surprising! I hope you people understand what the man is saying. I belive he is saying that who thinks a dolphin is intelligent as a rat or a goldfish is totally stupid. I belive the scientific world is does not want to support the idea that a dolphin is capable of self awareness and reason although there is clear evidence to support this fact.
Oh, dear. I believe people will never understand them because society totady is forcing us to believe that we control the world because we are at the top of it. But some day this wont be true anymore.


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