‘Dolphin brains involve completely different wiring from primates, especially in the neocortex, which is central to higher functions such as reasoning and conscious thought.
Dolphins are so distantly related to humans that it’s been 95 million years since we had even a remotely common ancestor. Yet when it comes to intelligence, social behavior and communications, some researchers say dolphins come as close to humans as our ape and monkey cousins.
“They understand concepts like zero, abstract concepts. They do everything that chimpanzees do and bonobos can do,” said Lori Marino, a neuroscientist at Emory University who specializes in dolphin research. “The fact is that they are so different from us and so much like us at the same time.”‘
Other research – in birds in particular, seems to reflect the same findings. So if primate lineage and brain size are not the factors accounting for intelligence development, then what caused us homo sapiens to develop such complex society, use tools and strive to change our natural environment? The fact is, the scientists don’t know. Maybe what we need to do is ask a very clever parrot.