Pumping Up Intelligence: Abrupt Climate Jumps and the Evolution of Higher Intellectual Functions during the Ice Ages

Calvin, William H (2001) Pumping Up Intelligence: Abrupt Climate Jumps and the Evolution of Higher Intellectual Functions during the Ice Ages. [Book Chapter]

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The title is not a metaphor, though past tense might be better as this chapter is about how each of the many hundred abrupt coolings of the last several million years could have served as a pump stroke, each elevating intelligence a small increment - even though what natural selection was operating on was not intelligence per se. While we often use the term 'intelligence' to encompass both a broad range of abilities and the efficiency with which they're enacted, it also implies flexibility and creativity, an "ability to slip the bonds of instinct and generate novel solutions to problems" (Gould and Gould 1994, p. 70). Those three pillars of animal intelligence - association, imitation, and insight - are also impressive (Byrne 1994), as are the occasional symbolic (Deacon 1997) and reasoning (Gould & Gould, 1998) abilities. But Piaget (1929; 1952) said that intelligence is what you use when you don't know what to do, when neither innateness nor learning has prepared you for the particular situation.

Item Type:Book Chapter
Subjects:Biology > Sociobiology
Biology > Evolution
ID Code:3219
Deposited By: Calvin, Prof. William H.
Deposited On:14 Oct 2003
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:55

References in Article

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