Thursday, February 09, 2012


Another interesting bit of information from Temple Grandin’s ANIMALS IN TRANSLATION: Some scientists theorize that brains evolved because animals became mobile. A creature that doesn’t move around has no need for a brain in coping with its environment. As an example, Grandin describes a marine animal that is free-swimming in its juvenile period, similar to a tadpole. When it matures, it becomes anchored to one spot on the sea floor. In the process, it re-absorbs parts of its juvenile form, including the brain—it almost literally eats its own brain, which it doesn’t need anymore.

I once read a story about an alien species that looked humanoid while immature and metamorphosed into plant-like creatures as adults. In this sessile phase they apparently became plant-like in intelligence (or absence thereof) too. The twist in the story was that they’d become stuck in permanent neoteny, and their species had even lost the memory of having originally had a two-stage life cycle (until the truth was rediscovered by accident).

Does this theory mean we could never meet intelligent trees?

Margaret L. Carter
Carter's Crypt

1 comment:

  1. It certainly ties in with the saying "use it or lose it"...and is amply demonstrated by the couch potato nation, as they sit in front of the TV or video game for hours and cannot name the Vice President or tell you where countries like Turkey or Sudan are actually located.