Since many species of animals have larger brains than humans, why aren’t they as intelligent as humans are?


Since many species of animals have larger brains than humans, why aren’t they as intelligent as humans are?

In: 2

It’s not just brain size that matters. It’s how big the brain is relative to the size of the body. In that regard I think I’m right in saying that humans have the largest brain for their body size. Yes a whales brain is bigger than ours, but their bodies are even bigger. Some birds are highly intelligent despite having small brains because they’re just so stinking small.

Brains aren’t just for thinking! They also control your entire nervous system, motor functions etc, so generally the rule is the bigger the body the bigger the brain.

What makes an animal ‘intelligent’ (intelligence being a very broad term) is what proportion of the brain they use for pure thought rather than bodily functions. This is why a better measure of ‘intelligence’ is the ratio or brain size to body size.

Hope that’s an acceptable answer, I’d just like to throw my own opinion in here and say that intelligence is a very subjective term, dogs for instance are adept at reading emotions (arguably better than humans) and whilst you wouldn’t think an octopus is even capable of reading emotions they are without doubt excellent problem solvers. Apes share most of the tool-making and social behaviour that we have but lack capable linguistics, whilst whales and dolphins have complex and meaningful songs but no need for tool-making. So intelligence is really a rather broad set of skills we associate with being human.

It’s the brain structure and function that is the issue, not the size. We’ve evolved to be able to do numerous amazing things with our brain—language, for example. It doesn’t matter how big your brain is if it hasn’t evolved to have those functions.

So basically the cerebral cortex, aka the wrinkly outside of the brain, is very wrinkly. It has many folds and creases. These convolutions allow a large surface area of brain to fit inside our skulls, in a similar way that our small intestine is about 20 feet long but fits comfortably in our body. The increased surface areas allows for more neural pathways and room for billions of neurons.

So to keep it simple, it’s not brain to body ratio, nor is it how big your brain is that indicates intelligence, but how *wrinkled* your brain is.

Wrinkly Brain=Smart Brain