Monday, February 15, 2010
Dolphins and the evolution of intelligence
Lori Mario explains why dolphins are the friskiest of mammals on "Sex and the SETI." But the focus of her work is studying the nature of their intelligence and how to protect this remarkable creature.
For the past fifteen years I have been a faculty member in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology at Emory University. I study the evolution of intelligence and self-awareness in other animals, such as dolphins and primates, and work closely with The SETI Institute and astrobiology community on projects related to the evolution of intelligent life.
My focus on dolphins (and other cetaceans) has allowed me to study a complex intelligence that evolved into an alternative to human intelligence and, thus, theorize about the different forms intelligence might take.
We’ve shown that dolphin brains are very large and complex but differently organized than primate brains. Yet, dolphins and humans share a number of psychological characteristics, including self-awareness and strong social ties with each other.
You can read more about the work here.