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From Birds and Lemurs, Lessons About Human Exceptionalism

mouse lemur
Photo: A mouse lemur, by Cornischong at Luxembourgish Wikipedia / Public domain.

Mind Matters offers a pair of new studies on animal minds that underline the exceptional place of humans in nature. Denyse O’Leary writes:

Although the Deutsches Primatenzentrum (DPZ) study is said to provide “provides important insights into the evolution of cognitive abilities in primates,” these insights are not spelled out. The obvious conclusion from the research is that all primates show a more similar level of intelligence than expected — except for humans, who are highly exceptional. And it’s not clear how to account for that according to conventional theories of evolution.

In that sense, the study is reminiscent of two that we looked at yesterday, in which smart birds were found to have brains more like the brains of mammals than expected.

For some reason, the researchers thought that this finding was an argument against human exceptionalism. But it is quite the opposite.

If, as believed, the last common ancestor of birds and mammals lived 320 million years ago, life forms back then may have been smarter than we think. But such findings only accentuate the vast gap in intelligence between humans and lemurs, chimpanzees, or ravens today. Efforts to account for this gap in evolutionary terms have not been particularly successful.

On the lemur study, paleontologist Günter Bechly adds: “Mouse lemurs are as intelligent as chimps, or in other words: chimps are mentally as different from humans as the tiny and primitive mouse lemurs. Another failed prediction of Darwinism.”

The most diminutive of lemurs, Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur, making it also the slightest of all primates, is adorable, lightning fast, and lives in a delicate ecological relationship with the insect that produces its food as a waste product. Denyse highlights this from the BBC and David Attenborough:

As I noted here the other day, human exceptionalism is so repugnant to Darwinists that it can only be admitted where the admission “sets our species and its privileges in a worse light than before.” Self-degradation, like the “Galileo legend,” is a vital fuel from Darwinism.

David Klinghoffer

Senior Fellow and Editor, Evolution News
David Klinghoffer is a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute and the editor of Evolution News & Science Today, the daily voice of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, reporting on intelligent design, evolution, and the intersection of science and culture. Klinghoffer is also the author of six books, a former senior editor and literary editor at National Review magazine, and has written for the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Seattle Times, Commentary, and other publications. Born in Santa Monica, California, he graduated from Brown University in 1987 with an A.B. magna cum laude in comparative literature and religious studies. David lives near Seattle, Washington, with his wife and children.



Animal MindsBBC EarthchimpanzeesDarwinismDavid AttenboroughDenyse O'LearyDeutsches PrimatenzentrumecologyGalileo legendGünter Bechlyhuman exceptionalismlemursMind Mattersnatureprimatesravensself-degradation