Would Troodon really have evolved into a humanoid?

Corvidius

Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
2,551
Crows nest
#11
I made an error :eek:
Modern birds at the earliest embryonic stage do show five digits. The two digits that are reabsorbed are very small, not more than extremely tiny bumps, and appear only momentarily, but they are there. So at least on that matter evolution does not have to start from a blank sheet. But whether evolution could grow these ephemeral lost digits back to a proper digit is another matter, as in the case of the tail that refuses to grow back in birds like ostriches, and I would say, also teeth in terror birds.
 
Apr 2017
676
Lemuria
#12
A lack of opposable digits is why the dinosaurs would have never invented the Xbox.
There's no evidence for that. The jaw has more to do with tool usage than the hands, indirectly. A mutation that weakened the jaws is usually deadly as it would put animals at competitive disadvantages. However in apes, a weaker jaw allows for a bigger brain. A bigger brain allows for tool use. Your hands will evolve in that direction. Now if you don't have opposable digits in the first place and say randomly you have two fingers (number of fingers actually is mathematically dependent on the fish all land animals evolved from) only, they will evolve in such a way for efficient manipulation of tools.

There are plenty of animals that are dexterous (rodents, lemurs etc) and yet they lack the brain power to make tool. Crows however can fashion tools with their beak and feet, good tools at that. They can even make hooks. Bird feet are actually pretty dexterous.

 
Nov 2011
8,848
The Dustbin, formerly, Garden of England
#13
Harry Harrison's "East of Eden" is a jolly good read--the author spent a lot of time creating credible backstories for his intelligent dinosaurs, including language, communication and grasping appendages.



 

Corvidius

Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
2,551
Crows nest
#15
There are plenty of animals that are dexterous (rodents, lemurs etc) and yet they lack the brain power to make tool. Crows however can fashion tools with their beak and feet, good tools at that. They can even make hooks. Bird feet are actually pretty dexterous.

And that video is a good example of meta tool usage in corvids, and the way it pulls up the string to get the short stick is in itself remarkable. To expand on that, while the New Caledonian crow uses tools in the wild, and so has a sort of head start in this, no rooks use tools in the wild, yet when confronted with the same puzzles as New Caledonian crows, they also crack the puzzle by using a tool. This is not instinctive behaviour otherwise we would see rooks using tools in the wild, so what they are doing, and what all other corvids do, is to show analogical reasoning https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/reasoning-analogy/ and also causal knowledge Causal Theory of Knowledge { Philosophy Index } Both of which show extremely high grade thinking within the corvid mind. The standard causal knowledge test is of the bird needing to perform the Aesop's fable achievement of dropping stones in a container to bring the water level up so it can drink. These days the test involves doing this to float food to the top. In Aesop's fable it was a rook that did this.

I'm sure this video has been seen many times, but it does shows very advanced thinking in corvids. It seems to us simple, but the mental processes involved are not simple at all, as it is the outward expression of a mind that can think through a process that does not involve instinct, it has to use reasoning. Also, slowly, it begins to seem that they might use language beyond the basic level of many animals of making warning calls or "I'm here" calls. We are all familiar with the normal caw! caw! caw!, but it seems there are up to eighty or more variations in the caw, depending on species, and so giving a very large number of combinations of the different caw sound. Then there are the sounds they make that we rarely hear, the softer sounds when in the nest or roosting, where they are certainly not saying "danger" or "I'm here". We know they pass on knowledge to each other beyond the stage of one bird observing what another does, something many animals do, and the only way it seems they could do this at a more advanced level is by language.

 
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VHS

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,305
Brassicaland
#16
On physical appearance I don't go with Dale Russell's "Dinosauroid" as it is way out of spec for any possible evolutionary development in dinosaurs, far too anthropomorphic and based on thinking that as we are the top of the ladder now, that our bauplan is the only one available for intelligence. We are a convenient shape to sit, and as we don't take up much room horizontally, can make homes and machines we can sit in that are not too big. A house for a dinosaur, even a small one, would need to be big, and any sort of vehicle, problematic with their body shape, but not impossible, just needing more materials and more space.

On intelligence things are better, much better. I'll make one unproven contentious statement to get it out of the way. This is about dolphins. We know they are very intelligent, but there is an element of doubt as too how intelligent they are based on EQ. A few dolphin species, Bottlenoses being the prominent one, are second to us in EQ and have an EQ of 4.4, which is huge compared to the best corvids and apes at about 2.8. But dolphins do not show such a huge advance in intelligence that their EQ would suggest. The big EQ dolphins also just happen to be the ones with the most sophisticated sonar, which do of course need greater intelligence, but I would suspect that most of their extra brains are for sensory purposes, not thinking. Therefore, I would contend that as it seems that the brainiest corvids are more brainy that the brainiest ape, except us, and that the big EQ dolphins don't have a corresponding level of intelligence, that corvids, a maniraptor cousin of troodontids, and even potentially a descendant of basal troodontids, could be the second or equal second most intelligent animal on the planet. And further, that before we evolved, and while dolphins were still evolving, corvids were for a time the most intelligent animal on the planet.

Troodon. Whether they would have evolved high intelligence is of course impossible to say. While bird intelligence can be said to be a consequence of flight, and even the lowliest modern bird has either more brains or no less brains than troodontids, that troodotids do have an EQ the same as some modern birds shows that flight is not the only determining factor in dinosaur intelligence.

If the extinction had never happened, then I don't see any pressing reason why modern avian intelligence would not have evolved to were it is now. But with non avians like troodon any increase in intelligence would be determined by a need for increased intelligence. That the coelurosaur brain was evolving and getting bigger in proportion to the animal shows that there was an evolutionary pressure to increase brain size irrespective of flight, so further increases in brain capacity cannot be ruled out. However, as there is a more than 100 million year gap between the first coelurosaur and the last non avian one, the advance in brain size, except on the branch leading to avialans, was glacial and it needs to be considered if, in the event of there not being an extinction, any further significant progress would have been made in the following 66 million years to today.

However, even without the extinction the Earth would still physically be the same, the same continental drift, the same ice ages and other less damaging meteor strikes. So Dinosaurs would have had a lot of major changes to contend with. Some would have fallen by the wayside, others evolved to cope with the changing conditions. Looking at birds and how they have evolved to occupy the entire planet and cope with extremes of heat and cold, it is reasonable to suppose that at the very least their maniraptor relatives would also have evolved to cope with the large changes to the Earth in the last 66 million years.

Birds and dolphins show that high intelligence is not dependent on having grasping hands, intelligence does not have to have a club, or a gun or a seat or a car, but to reach the Moon, well of course. So if we blinked out of existence tomorrow, I don't expect there will ever be a landing on the Moon by ravens, even in a further 66 million years. But Troodon does have grasping claws, only three, but that's better than none. So if ecological changes drove troodontid evolution to need to develop a large brain, then by fact of their grasping claws, I see no reason why they could not have become more competent tool users than corvids. In fact, by them having a usable hand, that should drive brain power further and an equivalent of the "Dinosauroid" could have evolved, but still as a horizontal biped, not upright, and still no seats, but maybe a rocket to the Moon.

This looks a far better candidate for a high intelligence non avian dinosaur than "Dinosauroid".


"Dinosauroid" for comparison. It is shown alongside it's "ancestor" Stenonychosaurus, which was renamed Troodon, and then this year reverted back to being Stenonychosaurus. Nothing about dinosaurs is simple....
I kept looking for this picture and now I found it!
Our upright stature is not necessarily the best; we often suffer from various pains due to our physical structure.
 
Jun 2012
7,121
Malaysia
#18
Just a personal opinion here. I think it is not dexterity & athleticism that drove homo sapiens to a relatively better developed intelligence cf. other animals. But rather, OTOH, it was comparative lack of dexterity & athleticism. So that, homo sapiens was forced to gradually develop their intelligence to a higher level to compensate for that lack. Whatever little limited dexterity or athleticism they had was just barely enough to prep them for survival in the gentlest, most benign & least challenging of conditions & environments.

I mean, if we just think about it for a while, our ancient, very ancient ancestors never had the equipment to enable them to run like a cheetah or a horse, swim like an otter, climb trees like a monkey, gore belly or butt body like a bull, or fight like a wolf. So, what chance would they hv had, had it not been for a bit of superior development in the space between their ears.
 
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Corvidius

Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
2,551
Crows nest
#19
That could well be a thing. We are quite feeble compared to animals the same size as us, and smaller. The largest and strongest adult male today can get killed by a wolf. Some people would struggle with a lynx. So we were forced to expand our capacity by using brain power to invent the weapons that we lack. It's quite miraculous that we actually survived, this far....

And, on topic, there is a precedent in dinosaurs with the brain EQ of otherwise defenceless hadrosaurs increasing as time went on. Probably to cope with a parallel increase in the EQ of tyrannosaurs, so maybe we are lucky that big cats did not increase their EQ as we did.
 
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