Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Smart reptiles watch: So much for the dumb, unfeeling "reptilian brain."

This NOVA program looks interesting.
They look like dragons and inspire visions of fire-spitting monsters. But these creatures with their long claws, razor-sharp teeth, and muscular, whip-like tails are actually monitors, the largest lizards now walking the planet. With their acute intelligence, these lizards—including the largest of all, the Komodo dragon—are a very different kind of reptile, blurring the line between reptiles and mammals. Thriving on Earth essentially unchanged since the time of the dinosaurs, they are a very successful species, versatile at adapting to all kinds of settings. This program looks at what makes these long-tongued reptiles so similar to mammals and what has allowed them to become such unique survivors.
I have never been a fan of the "reptilian brain" approach to intelligence - in other words that reptiles are always dumber than mammals because of some nonsense about the evolution of the brain..

I am told that crocodilians, including the Mississippi alligator and cobras are also smart enough. Lots of people have ended up in the hospital or the morgue by assuming that that wasn't true.