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Convergence of Complex Cognitive Abilities in Cetaceans and Primates
  • Lori Marino, Emory University
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What examples of convergence in higher-level complex cognitive characteristics exist in the animal kingdom? In this paper I will provide evidence that convergent intelligence has occurred in two distantly related mammalian taxa. One of these is the order Cetacea (dolphins, whales and porpoises) and the other is our own order Primates, and in particular the suborder anthropoid primates (monkeys, apes, and humans). Despite a deep evolutionary divergence, adaptation to physically dissimilar environments, and very different neuroanatomical organization, some primates and cetaceans show striking convergence in social behavior, artificial ‘language’ comprehension, and self-recognition ability. Taken together, these findings have important implications for understanding the generality and specificity of those processes that underlie cognition in different species and the nature of the evolution of intelligence.


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Citation Information
Marino, L. (2002). Convergence of complex cognitive abilities in cetaceans and primates. Brain Behavior and Evolution, 59(1-2), 21-32.