Originally posted by FabianFnas
Intelligence in relation to brain size...
Do someone know:
Is the brain of an elephant bigger or smaller than the human brain?
Same question about a whale?
Is there a correlation between a brain size and intelligence? Or do you have to compare the body mass as well?
Is it possible for an insect to acquire intelligence?
How do we measure in ...[text shortened]... when we cannot communicate with it? Is it only the human intelligence we can measure of animals?
How do we measure intelligence of an animal when we cannot communicate with it?
The language of bees has been completely decoded, apparently. With things like bees one has to consider the colony as a whole, rather than individuals within it. I remember reading an article where they were talking about progress in decoding dolphin, which is a far more interesting species - sorry I can't give a reference for this. The stuff about bees is on the Wikipedia page.
Considerable work has been done on chimps. They can learn human sign language and can remember up to about 300 words. They are our closest living relatives (as far as species go), I heard on a (I think) Radio 4 program that they'd tried to teach a female chimp how to make stone tools. She got the basic idea - bash the stones together so they make a cutting edge. What she couldn't get her head around was that one has to vary the force and direction of the blows to fashion a blade. In the end she solved the problem another way - she smashed the two stones together breaking the stone she was working on into tiny shards. She reached in and picked out a sharp shard.
I think they normally regard neural density, rather than overall size as key. There is a certain amount of brain to body mass required to do routine housekeeping within the body (making sure things like systolic diastolic systolic diastolic.. happen correctly), we have huge brains that use up 25% of our bodies energy requirements and cause us temperature regulation problems. To the extent that we have no fur and our guts are about a yard shorter than one would expect from the anatomy of other great apes. Again I can't give references for all this as they are factoids I picked up from various nature documentaries over the years.