Quickie Post — Just because the question of empathetic cetacean intelligence is really dead, doesn’t mean you can’t beat it…

Backlit Tree Hoh Rainforest

Backlit tree in the Hoh Rainforest, Olympic National Park, WA, August 2017

Well, by now, everyone knows I loves me some self-organizing, emergent cetacean intelligence.  And here’s another post, from those radicals at the Global Economic Forum, about cetacean self-organizing behavior and the larger social brain.  Here’s a pull quote:

“We found that species with larger brains live in more structured societies and have more cultural and learned behaviours. The group of species with the largest relative brain size are the large, whale-like dolphins. These include the false killer whale and pilot whale.

To illustrate the two ends of the spectrum, killer whales have cultural food preferences – where some populations prefer fish and other seals. They also hunt cooperatively and have matriarchs leading the group. Sperm whales have actual dialects, which means that different populations have distinct vocalisations. In contrast, some of the large baleen whales, which have smaller brains, eat krill rather than fish or other mammals, live fairly solitary lives and only come together for breeding seasons and at rich food sources.


Quelle surprise — meso-scale, coordinated empathetic hunters get it going on with coordinated communication and information sharing, and empathy, of course.  And they evolve.  Just like we humans.  Which means it’s not the hardware so much that drives information creation — though you have to have a big enough computer.  It’s the software.  Let’s hear it for those v-Memes!  Think about that for your Sunday meditation!

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